Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster French Open quarterfinals against world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday when he defeated Felix Oger-Eliasim in a five-set fourth-round epic and vowed to “fight to the end.” Nadal, a 13-time Roland Garros champion and record holder of 21 Grand Slam titles, defeated the Canadians 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a four-hour match. And 21 minutes. It was only the third time in his 17-year, 111-match career in Paris that Nadal had been promoted to five seats.
Nadal and Djokovic will compete for the 10th time in Roland Garros and the 59th overall in the feud until 2006.
“We know each other well, we have a lot of history. All I can say is that I will stay focused, do my best and fight to the end,” Nadal told defending champions on Tuesday. He said while renewing the enmity.
Djokovic has been responsible for two of Nadal’s three defeats in Paris – in the quarterfinals in 2015 and the semifinals last year.
Nadal praised Auger-Aliasime, who has been working with his uncle and former coach Tony since April last year.
The 35-year-old Spaniard, who made it to the last eight for the 16th time, said: “Felix is a great player, one of the best players in the world. He is very young with a lot of strength and great mobility.”
Ninth-ranked Ogre-Eliasim took a 3-1 lead in the first set on Sunday and took a 4-1 lead with three break points.
Nadal took a break in the seventh game but the 21-year-old Canadian held his nerves to pocket the opener.
In the second set, two loose four-hands at 3-5 opened the door for the 35-year-old Nadal, while the third set changed the path of the Spaniard in the third game when three fast, defensive scramblers forced their opponent to make a mistake. ۔
“The Biggest Challenge”
Auger-Aliasime then rallied to tie the knot.
In a tense final, Nadal took a 5-3 lead by substituting just six of his 22 break points and holding his nerves to claim his 109th victory over Roland Garros.
Djokovic also reached the quarterfinals for the 16th time when he won 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 against 15th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
“It’s a big challenge and it’s probably the biggest challenge you can get here at Roland Garros. I’m ready for it,” Djokovic said, facing his old rival.
Djokovic is due to leave Roland Garros after the first week’s tour.
He has also won 22 consecutive seats, extending his Italian Open title victory in Rome earlier this month.
Alexander Zverev reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time, beating Spanish qualifier Bernabeu Zapata Mirales.
In the big moments, Zverev’s standard proved to be enough to win 7-6 (13/11), 7-5, 6-3.
The 25-year-old German will face either Karen Khachanov or teen sensational Carlos Alcaraz in the last eight.
Alcaraz, 19, has won 20 of 21 matches at Clay this season but needed to save one match point to beat compatriot Albert Ramos-Venolas of Spain in the second round.
In the Wide Open Women’s event, in which nine out of 10 seeds fell before the second week, the young American Coco Goff competed in the quarterfinals with compatriot Sloven Stephens.
Goff, 18, defeated Belgium’s Alice Martinez 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the last eight for the second year in a row, while 2018 runner-up Stephens defeated Switzerland’s 23rd seed Jill Teichman 6-2, 6. Defeated by 0.
“American in Paris … I think it’s going to be a great match and I’m looking forward to it,” said Stephens, who is currently ranked 64th in the WTA.
Canadian young Laila Fernandez has reached the quarterfinals for the first time.
Fernandez, the 17th seed, and last year’s US Open runner-up, beat 2019 semifinalist Amanda Ensimova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, leaving 40 winners behind.
The 2019 junior champion said, “It was a very complicated match. Amanda is a very good player but I was happy to win in front of you.”
His next match is against world number 59 Martina Travison of Italy, who reached the quarterfinals for the second time in three years, beating Belarus’ Alexandra Sasnovich 7-6 (12/10), 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Made it to the finals.
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