Rafa Nadal gains revenge on Novak Djokovic in pulsating French Open Quarter-Final

Jamie Shaw in French Open 01 Jun 2022
Nadal celebrates an epic win (Photo: Andre Chaco/Fotoarena)

Rafael Nadal reached his 15th French Open Quarter-Final courtesy of a thrilling four-set win over rival Novak Djokovic in a marathon contest.

Nadal continued his longstanding love affair with the Court Philippe Chatrier as he produced another memorable display to dethrone the reigning champion at Roland Garros.

The 13-time French Open winner had suffered a four-set defeat to Djokovic in last year’s Semi-Finals but turned the tables to remain in contention for a second successive Grand Slam title.

Nadal made a commanding start by storming to the opening set 6-2 and looked in control of the second at 3-0 ahead, but only for Djokovic to battle back and level at 3-3 after a sixth game which lasted almost 20 minutes.

The Serb went on to seal the set 6-4 to restore parity, but an early break from Nadal in the third paved the way for a 4-1 lead after a costly double-fault from his opponent.

The Spaniard went on to clinch the set 6-2, but as the temperatures fell in Paris and the clock approached midnight, Djokovic dug deep again and broke for a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

However, he was to left to rue two missed set points at 5-3, and Nadal seized his route back into the set to put the game back on serve.

The number five seed quickly took control of the tie break and wasted no time in sealing victory to confirm a Semi-Final show-down with Alexander Zverev.

“It was an emotional night and I still play for nights like tonight,” said Nadal. “To win against Novak there is only one way: to play your best from the first point to the last.

“This is one of those magic nights for me.

“But it is just a quarter-final and I still have a semi-final to come. I will stay emotionally stable and get ready for the semi-final.”

Third seed Zverev had earlier secured his place in a second successive French Open Semi-Final with a four-set victory over emerging sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

The German star stormed into a two-set lead, before Alcaraz clinched the third 6-4 to grab a lifeline, but only for Zverev to hold his nerve in a fourth set tie break to deny the 19-year-old a first appearance in a Grand Slam Semi-Final.

Earlier in the day, 18-year-old Coco Gauff progressed to her first Grand Slam singles Semi-Final courtesy of a straight sets win over fellow American Sloane Stephens.

Gauff will now face the unseeded Martina Trevisan – who became the first Italian female since 2013 to reach the French Open Semi-Finals after she defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.

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French Open 2022 – Day Ten Results

Tuesday May 31

Quarter-Finals

COURT PHILIPPE-CHATRIER
11am Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 Leylah Fernandez
12.30pm Coco Gauff 7-5, 6-2 Sloane Stephens
3pm Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 Carlos Alcaraz
7.45pm Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 Rafael Nadal

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