Both men have been solid on serve this fortnight, but they have dominated in slightly different ways. Nadal is stronger on second serve, where he has won 63 per cent of his points to Djokovic’s 56 per cent. The Spaniard’s average second serve comes in at 154.6 km/h while Djokovic delivers at an average of 142.5 km/h.
After battling for four hours and 21 minutes in his five-set win over Auger-Aliassime, Nadal has spent 10 hours and 43 minutes on court. Djokovic has been efficient in eight hours and 13 minutes of play.
As everyone knows I am a Rafael Nadal fan and I would love to watch his match against Novak Djokovic. I will be too curious about what will happen not to see it, but I will watch on TV rather than at the stadium. I watched Rafa’s last match against Felix Auger-Aliassime, although not the full game because it was so long. During the tournament I need to be focused on my own preparations, my rest and my routine. That’s why I won’t be going to watch the quarter-final in the stadium. But, like always, I’ll be rooting for Rafa.
If we’re looking for any indications, the most critical one was made Monday by the schedulers. This will be a night match, a decided disadvantage to Nadal, who wants the ball jumping off the clay. Keep an eye, too, on the first set. In 50 of their previous 58 matches, the winner of the first set has prevailed.
- The last dance? Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic set for duel under French Open lights | The Independent
We know better than to rule Nadal out by now but the reality of his chronic foot injury and the suggestion that this could be it – his Last Dance – raises the stakes and sets up a quarter-final of intriguing possibility. It was always supposed to be this way. Nadal and Djokovic have been on a collision course ever since they were grouped together in the top quarter of the French Open draw and the blockbuster clash that was promised has now been delivered.
Former French Open finalist Alex Corretja has stated that this decision will greatly benefit Djokovic as he explained that the conditions at night are greater suited to the Serbian’s game than the Spaniards.
Speaking to Eurosport, the former Spanish star reacted to the news saying: “Oh dear! We will have time to talk about [the conditions]. Of course Rafa’s game is not as effective because usually he likes to hit the ball with a lot of spin, meaning that the ball will go very high. But if he plays at night, the ball might bounce a little bit lower, and for Novak’s game, [that is] better. Obviously the conditions are the same for everyone, but it depends on your game. It can suit your game more or less, and that’s why for Rafa’s game, it is always better when it’s sunny.”
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