21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal beat Felix Auger-Aliassime for the second time in as many career meetings, progressing to the quarterfinals of the Roland Garros on Sunday, with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory in four hours and 20 minutes. It marked Rafa’s third career five-set match at Roland Garros, a tournament he has won 13 times.
Rafa will next play against defending champion Novak Djokovic. They will meet for the 59th time in a rematch of their 2021 Roland Garros semifinal, won by the Serbian en route to the title. Also, they will break their Open Era ties with the Chris Evert–Martina Navratilova rivalry for the most consecutive years playing each other (17) and most meetings in one Grand Slam (10).
Our champ is in search of a historic 14th Roland Garros title, which would give him 22 Grand Slam trophies and allow him to pull away from 20-time Slam champion Novak.
After the match, Rafa said:
“It’s an atmosphere that’s incredible, so many emotions out for me. The most important court for me in my entire career. [On Auger-Aliassime]. He’s a great player, one the best in the world, with great power and mobility, I wish him all the best for the rest of the season. He’s a great guy, and a great colleague on tour. I didn’t start the match well so it was a first tough set. He has a huge serve and I was not able to push him back. At the end I could go to the end and that makes a difference. [On Novak Djojkovic] Here we are, we are in Roland Garros, and I am going to try my best, that I can guarantee.“