All-time tennis great Rafael Nadal will face generational rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals after overcoming Felix Auger Aliassime in a five-set thriller on Sunday.
The Spaniard went a set down to his French-Canadian foe before taking a 2-1 lead in the fourth round tie.
After Aliassime then took the fourth set 6-3 to take the game to its limit, Nadal sealed his continuation at his most successful grand slam by also winning 6-3 to prevail three sets to two overall.
The victory achieved in four hours and 22 minutes means that Nadal is now 109-3 at Roland Garros, and it also set up a potential classic against defending 2021 champion Djokovic on Tuesday after the Serb beat Diego Schwartzman.
In his post-match interview, Nadal said that the “incredible” atmosphere on the “most important court for me in my entire career” had brought out “many emotions” in him.
Describing his opponent as one of the best players in the world, Nadal confessed that he didn’t start the match well which made for a tough first set.
“He has a huge serve and I was not able to push him back,” Nadal said. “[But] at the end I could go to the end and that makes a difference.”