Paris: Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster French Open quarter-final against world number one Novak Djokovic when he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set fourth round epic.
Nadal, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros and holder of a record 21 Grand Slam titles, triumphed over the Canadian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a match which lasted four hours and 21 minutes.
It was only the third time in his 17-year, 111-match career in Paris that Nadal had been stretched to five sets.
Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 10th time at Roland Garros and 59th overall in a rivalry stretching back to 2006.
Try my best
“We know each other well, we have a lot of history. The only thing I can say is that I will be focussed, try my best and fight until the end,” said Nadal of renewing his rivalry with the defending champion on Tuesday.
Nadal hailed Auger-Aliassime who has been working with his uncle and former coach Toni since April last year.
“Felix is a great player, one of the best in the world. He’s very young with a lot of power and great mobility,” said the 35-year-old Spaniard.
“He was a very tough opponent for me, he is doing a lot of things well and has improved every year.
“He is a great guy and a good colleague on the tour.”