13-time champion Rafael Nadal had to battle hard for four hours and 23 minutes against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime in the fourth round of the French Open 2022. Nadal defeated the youngster by 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at Court Phillippe Chartier on Sunday evening to improve his Roland-Garros record at 109-3.
The Canadian started the match with a dominating serve and broke Nadal’s serve straight away. The Spaniard wasn’t at his best in the first set and also struggled with his first serve.
However, Nadal bounced back to take the next two sets and looked at his usual best. But once again the Canadian clinched the fourth set to take the match to the final set. Nadal was more aggressive in his approach in the deciding set and played more points at the net.
Nadal won a total of 152 points as compared to Felix’s 135 and it was once again a wonderful performance from the kind of clay. In fact, it was well known that Nadal was going to have his run for the money against Felix and the Canadian did trouble the Spaniard.
It was only the third occasion when Nadal was taken to five sets in his 111 matches at Roland Garros with the previous two coming against John Isner (2011) and Novak Djokovic (2013).
“He is a great player without a doubt. One of the best players in the world,” Nadal said when asked about Auger-Aliassime in his on-court interview.
“He is very young and with a lot of power and mobility. For me, he was a very, very tough opponent today. He does a lot of things well and has been improving and I wish him the very best for the rest of the season. It is a very important victory for me without a doubt.”
Meanwhile, Nadal will now face arch-rival Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal clash. Djokovic had beaten Nadal in French Open 2021 in a thrilling four-set contest in the semifinal.
“We know each other well,” Nadal said when looking ahead to his match against Djokovic. “We have a lot of history together. He came here after winning in Rome. For me, it was not an ideal situation to arrive here. But here we are. We are at Roland Garros, it is my favorite place without a doubt. The only thing I can tell you, I am going to be focused and try my best. The only thing I can guarantee is that I am going to fight until the end.”
Nadal and Djokovic will face each other on Tuesday.