Nadal will play in five sets against Auger-Aliassime and will find Djokovic in the quarterfinals of Roland-Garros

Nadal will play in five sets against Auger-Aliassime and will find Djokovic in the quarterfinals of Roland-Garros

The earth shook, but it just shook. Despite Sunday’s match of the Titans on the Philippe-Chatrier court, she did not succeed in two. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes disturbing, the 35-year-old Spaniard needed 4:20 and five sets to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime (3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3). The first in difficulty, more reassuring in the second and third rounds, the record holder of the Grand Slam victories (21) threw herself back into the fourth.

Then at the start at Central, which was all dedicated to his cause, he accelerated a bit to eventually break to 4-3 and win after a long marathon. After this monstrous fight, the Majorcan will find world number one Novak Djokovic on Tuesday, who easily defeated Diego Schwartzman during the day (6-1, 6-3, 6-3).

Auger-Aliassime never gave up

A bit of a tiring start to the match, Nadal has already experienced it. But at the moment it’s rare. The Spaniard, totally disorganized at the beginning of the meeting, where he found himself in trouble in all areas, began to make unusual mistakes (eleven in five games). Winner 13 Roland-Garros slowly, without the length of the ball and with the first ball (50% first place, 54% points scored on his first ball) accumulated waste in his game.

His backhand, which failed at first, and the forehand, which was a little too short in several sequences, did not allow him to lift his head. A blessing for Auger-Aliassime, who has moved a lot on the forehand to break through Nadal’s defenses.

The loss of the first set (which has not happened to him since 2018 and the quarterfinals against Diego Schwartzman) in 57 minutes was responsible for waking Nadal in the second and third sets. Right side up, more efficient in service and gaining length, the Spaniard was able to respond. And the Canadian, who never gave up, fought for every point and tried to change the Spanish monument.

For the third time in 112 matches, Nadal was relegated to Roland in the fifth set

After winning the second (6-3 in 52 minutes) and third set (6-2 in 43 minutes), we thought Nadal was on his way to victory, but the Majorcan returned to his early game. It was also at the time that Auger-Aliassime decided to enter the breakthrough. With a chain of executive services, victorious punches, and fantastic cushioning, the Canadian caused Nadal doubts, grinned, and was sometimes upset at the points lost.

For the third time in a hundred and twelve matches at Roland-Garros, the Spaniard played the fifth set. Although he seemed to be on the wrong track, he got back on his feet, helped by a central player who went through all his emotions on Sunday. While the “FAA” made him run and focus on his offensive game, Nadal held on and fired several laser missiles, the secrets of which he has. By breaking to 4: 3 at best, the Majorcan took care of the rest in an atmosphere of fire.

With his grin and his accuracy, he offered the last titanic point to face his opponents and end this marathon. He should spend Monday resting, because another giant is waiting for him on Tuesday: Novak Djokovic. This will be the 59th clash between the two monsters in the game, and we can’t wait to be there.


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