Roland-Garros 2022: Rafael Nadal, relegated to five sets, gets out of the trap of Félix Auger-Aliassime and will face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals

Roland-Garros 2022: Rafael Nadal, relegated to five sets, gets out of the trap of Félix Auger-Aliassime and will face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals

The Philippe-Chatrier court feared for its king. Rafael Nadal won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for 4:21 over Félix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday, May 29 in the round of 16 at Roland-Garros. But the Spaniard got into big trouble. At the Porte d’Auteuil, the Majorcan was caught in the fifth set for the third time in his career and did not calm down at a very high level in the quarterfinals on Tuesday before the match with Novak Djokovic. 46th in a grand slam career.

The offensive and courageous Felix Auger-Aliassime, whose assistant coach is none other than Toni Nadal, uncle and former coach of “Rafa”, stabbed Manacor in the bull from the beginning of the event. Dominance reinforced by mistakes beyond recognition of Nadal. With a broken serve (50% of the first serve), 15 unforced errors on just six winning strokes, the Spaniard was slowly returning to the match, despite the audience just asking for fire.

The first set lost 6: 3 could be followed by a thrilling second set if “Rafa” did not save two breakballs in the third game. But the legend came to life and everything was more complicated for Auger – Aliassime. Thanks to the found service and only four small unforced errors in the second set, “Rafa” tightened the game and disgusted the opponent. With a break in the best of times (5-3) Nadal picked up the set everywhere and showed why he won here 13 times. Even on a bad day …

Back in the game, the Spaniard continued his pace in the third set and quickly took over his opponent’s serve and took over the reins of the match (3-1). A tone higher, Mallorcan scored break points in four opponent play games to strengthen his grip. Doubts at the beginning of the meeting seemed distant.

But his demons woke up in the fourth round. After the Majorcan broke in the first two serving games, he ran after his opponent. Same cause, same consequence: multiplied unforced errors (13). In the end: the fifth set to play for the third time in his career at Roland-Garros after success at the end of the quest against John Isner in 2011 and Novak Djokovic in the semifinals in 2013.

And to withstand the pressure, the former number one knows how to do it. After the decisive start of the set, when both players kept their serve, it was Nadal who tilted the match by taking up his rival in the eighth game, all he had to do was serve him. Without a broken break and 15 victories, which was a third of his total number per match, the ocher champion managed this fifth set perfectly to avoid getting off the road prematurely.

What an incredible match between Rafael Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassim!  Finally, it is the Spaniard with 13 titles Porte d'Auteuil, who qualifies at the expense of the young Canadian to the quarterfinals, which promises to be just as exciting against Novak Djokovic.

At the end of this fight, “Rafa” inevitably left his feathers before the quarterfinals against world number one and title defender Novak Djokovic. On Sunday, the Spaniard spent two hours more on the court than the Serbian. Details that matter at this level of competition.

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