Relieved Rafael Nadal sets up Djokovic quarter-final jostle at French Open

Jonathan Davies in French Open 30 May 2022
Rafa Nadal reacts (Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set thriller on Sunday.

The decorated duo will lock horns at Roland Garros for the 10th time – and third successive year – after coming through contrasting fourth-round ties.

Reigning champion Djokovic reached his 13th consecutive quarter-finals at this event after sweeping aside Diego Schwartzman in straight sets 6-1 6-3 6-3; meaning he has now won 22 without reply since the Italian Open.

Meanwhile, 13-time winner Nadal was taken all the way by Auger-Aliassime on Chatrier, before eventually prevailing 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

The ninth seed controlled the first set, making it the first opener to go against Nadal at Roland Garros since his 2018 quarter-final showdown with Schwartzman.

The Spaniard turned the contest on its head, but his opponent became only the third player to take him to five at this Slam after Djokovic (2013) and John Isner (2011).

But just like on the previous two occasions, Nadal held his nerve to prevail and set up a mouth-watering rematch with Djokovic.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev is through to his fourth quarter-final at Roland Garros after overcoming Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(11) 7-5 6-3.

The third seed’s reward is a showdown with Carlos Alcaraz, who will appear in the last eight of a Slam for the second time following a straight-sets victory over Karen Khachanov.

In the ladies’ draw, Coco Gauff made it eight sets without reply as she put Elise Mertens to the sword 6-4 6-0.

Reaching back-to-back French Open quarter-finals, the 18-year-old is the first female player to advance to this stage of two Slams before turning 19 since Nicole Vaidisova (2007).

Next up for Gauff is a showdown with compatriot Sloane Stephens. Having arrived at Roland Garros off the back of five successive clay-court defeats, the 2018 runner-up continued her resurgence by comprehensively beating Jil Teichmann 6-2 6-0.

Meanwhile, Leylah Fernandez and Martina Trevisan will contest the first French Open quarter-final between two left-handers since Martina Navratilova and Sylvia Hanika faced off at this stage in 1981.

US Open runner-up Fernandez edged out Amanda Anisimova in three sets, while Rabat champion Trevisan became only the third Italian female player to reach the Roland Garros last eight on multiple occasions as she saw off Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6(10) 7-5.


French Open 2022 Day Eight Results

Sunday May 29

Round Four

Leylah FERNANDEZ (CDN) [17] 6-3 4-6 6-3 Amanda Anisimova (USA) [27]
Elise MERTENS (BEL) [31] 4-6 0-6 Coco GAUFF (USA) [18]
Felix AUGER-ALIASSIME (CDN) [9] 6-3 3-6 2-6 6-3 3-6 Rafael NADAL (ESP) [5]
Karen KHACHANOV [21] 1-6 4-6 4-6 Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP) [6]

Martina TREVISAN (ITA) 7-6(10) 7-5 Aliaksandra SASNOVICH
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [1] 6-1 6-3 6-3 Diego SCHWARTZMAN (ARG) [15]
Alexander ZVEREV (GER) [3] 7-6(11) 7-5 6-3 Bernabe ZAPATA MIRALLES (ESP)
Jil TEICHMANN (SUI) [23] 2-6 0-6 Sloane STEPHENS (USA)

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