Rafael Nadal advanced to the French Open quarterfinals with a marathon win over Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round on Sunday. Nadal prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the four-hour, 21-minute contest.
Auger-Aliassime, 21, got out to the early lead but Nadal roared back to win the next two sets. But the Canadian claimed the fourth set, forcing the King of Clay to a fifth set for just the third time in his French Open career.
After 12 straight holds deep into the final frame, Nadal finally broke through to go up 5-3. He would serve for the match and win.
Auger-Aliassime is coached by Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and former coach.
The victory sets up a high-profile matchup in the quarterfinals, where the Spaniard will meet Novak Djokovic. With a win, Nadal would have a shot to grow his men’s Grand Slam titles record to 22, while a loss would clear the path for Djokovic to tie him at 21. Djokovic defeated Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round earlier Sunday.
The 13-time champion Nadal has only lost three matches at Roland-Garros. He lost to Djokovic, a two-time winner in Paris, in the semifinals last year.
(Photo: Antonio Borga / Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)