fbpx
Favorites

© 2022 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Favorites

Nadal edges Auger-Aliassime at French Open; Djokovic next

Nadal edges Auger-Aliassime at French Open; Djokovic next
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, during their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, May 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — By the end of only the third five-setter Rafael Nadal has played in 112 career French Open matches, as the sun and temperature descended and the chants of “Ra-fa! Ra-fa!” filled the evening air, the man known as the King of Clay showed precisely what this meant to him.

With every sprint-slide-and-stretch to reach a seemingly unreachable shot off the yellow racket of his opponent, Felix Auger-Aliassime; with every right-to-a-corner winner; with every well-struck volley, Nadal would hop or throw an uppercut or scream “Vamos!” — and, often, all of the above.

Nadal got through his first serious test of this French Open by edging No. 9 seed Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 across nearly 4 1/2 hours of even, entertaining tennis in the fourth round Sunday at Court Philippe Chatrier.

And the reward? A tantalizing matchup against rival Novak Djokovic, which will come in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“Of course we know each other well. We have a lot of history together,” said Nadal, who hadn’t dropped a set in the tournament’s first week until ceding two against Auger-Aliassime, a big-serving 21-year-old from Canada. “Here we are in Roland Garros. It is my favorite place, without a doubt. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but the only thing I can guarantee is I am going to fight until the end.”

Nadal improved to 3-0 in five-set matches at the clay-court tournament he has dominated the way no one ever has dominated any Grand Slam event. Overall he is 109-3 here, and two of those defeats came against Djokovic, including in last year’s semifinals.

Here is how significant their rivalry is: Tuesday’s meeting will be their 59th, more than any other two men have faced each other in the sport’s professional era. Djokovic leads 30-28, although Nadal has a 7-2 advantage at the French Open.

Looking at the larger picture, Nadal’s record 13 championships at Roland Garros are part of his haul of 21 Grand Slam trophies, a record for men. The No. 1-ranked Djokovic, twice the title winner at the French Open, is just one behind Nadal in the total Slam count, tied with Roger Federer at 20.

“Obviously, a well-anticipated match, I think, when the draw came out, for a lot of people. I’m glad that I didn’t spend too much time on the court myself up to quarterfinals, knowing that playing him in Roland Garros is always a physical battle, along with everything else,” said Djokovic, who beat 15th-seeded Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 earlier Sunday and has won all 12 sets he’s played in the tournament.

“It’s a huge challenge,” Djokovic said about the prospect of facing Nadal, “and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros. I’m ready for it.”

___

More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Originals

more
Jack Sanborn: Can the Wisconsin LB contribute to the Chicago Bears?

Jack Sanborn: Can the Wisconsin LB contribute to the Chicago Bears?

Jack Sanborn was a main contributor on a Wisconsin Badgers defense that was continuously one…

Brent Venables: Can new Sooners HC continue OU’s success?

Brent Venables: Can new Sooners HC continue OU’s success?

After 26 years as an assistant under the likes of Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops and…

Wyatt Davis continues to provide opportunities for young QBs

Wyatt Davis continues to provide opportunities for young QBs

Wyatt Davis found it through different experiences and endeavors to become a DI quarterback.

Canadian Jacob Zibin’s path to an MLB-record draft bonus

Canadian Jacob Zibin’s path to an MLB-record draft bonus

To secure the youngest talent available at the 2022 MLB Draft, the Cleveland Guardians paid…

Ken Griffey Jr., Sr. play catch before ‘Field of Dreams’ game

Ken Griffey Jr., Sr. play catch before ‘Field of Dreams’ game

Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. got their moment at the “Field of Dreams,” enjoying…

Mathias Barnwell finds fit with Penn State, ‘Tight End U’

Mathias Barnwell finds fit with Penn State, ‘Tight End U’

Riverbend senior tight end Mathias Barnwell wants to bring a well-rounded game with him to…

UNC baseball recruit Walker Jenkins driven to be the best

UNC baseball recruit Walker Jenkins driven to be the best

Walker Jenkins has worked to become one of baseball’s best prospects.

Jim Nantz’s rise to sports broadcasting legend at CBS

Jim Nantz’s rise to sports broadcasting legend at CBS

Jim Nantz is now one of the biggest faces in sports media, but how did…

Kaveion Keys bringing winning pedigree to Power 5 level

Kaveion Keys bringing winning pedigree to Power 5 level

Kaveion Keys is one of the top Class of 2023 recruits in Virginia and aims…

Amir Herring ready to be a ‘Michigan Man’

Amir Herring ready to be a ‘Michigan Man’

Amir Herring has the potential to be one of Michigan's next great prep football prospects.

5 athletes who went viral on TikTok for their shock factor

5 athletes who went viral on TikTok for their shock factor

Here's a list of five athletes who've gone viral on TikTok.

Is Matt Rhule on the hot seat?

Is Matt Rhule on the hot seat?

After back-to-back five win seasons, Matt Rhule needs to show major improvement in year three…

10-year-old Rudolph Ingram drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill

10-year-old Rudolph Ingram drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill

At just 10 years old, RB Rudolph Ingram is being compared to Tyreek Hill and…

Ty Doucette looks to become next Canadian baseball star

Ty Doucette looks to become next Canadian baseball star

As an Oregon State commit, Ty Doucette is on his way to becoming the next…

Better Chelsea star: Roy Kent or Christian Pulisic?

Better Chelsea star: Roy Kent or Christian Pulisic?

Christain Pulisic starred in a commercial that also featured famed fictional footballer Roy Kent from…

Matt Carpenter enjoying career resurgence with Yankees

Matt Carpenter enjoying career resurgence with Yankees

With last year looking like the end of Matt Carpenter’s career, the current Yankees slugger…

Quinn Ewers ready to showcase talent despite Arch Manning buzz

Quinn Ewers ready to showcase talent despite Arch Manning buzz

With top-ranked recruit Arch Manning announcing his commitment to Texas this summer, eyes have turned…

Willson Contreras trade from Cubs doesn’t happen: What now?

Willson Contreras trade from Cubs doesn’t happen: What now?

Despite expectations he would be moved, Chicago Cubs' catcher Willson Contreras was not traded before…

Mike McCarthy facing pressure to get Cowboys over the hump

Mike McCarthy facing pressure to get Cowboys over the hump

Mike McCarthy is one of eight active head coaches with a Super Bowl championship to…

Juan Soto, Josh Bell trade: What it means for Padres, Nats

Juan Soto, Josh Bell trade: What it means for Padres, Nats

Here is everything you need to know about the trade that sent Juan Soto and…