Rafael Nadal rewrites the clay-court history, again

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Rafael Nadal rewrites the clay-court history, again

Rafael Nadal wants to keep the position of King of red clay close to him. In the round of 16 of the Roland Garros 2022, the Spaniard faced Felix Auger-Aliassime, giving life to a battle lasting four and a half hours on the central court in Paris.

The first set was in perfect control of the young Canadian, who was able to take advantage of the two rounds of services lost by the Spanish champion, albeit having lost one at the end. Different music, on the other hand, is played in the second and third sets: even with some break points granted to the opponent, the King of Paris has subtracted the service three times in the total of the two sets.

With the recovery of Auger-Aliassime in the fourth set, thanks to a physically fatigued Nadal, the last and decisive part was needed to decide the match in the round of 16. Triumphing in the fifth set was Rafael Nadal, who thus enters the quarter-finals of Roland Garros, where he will face the world number one, Novak Djokovic.

Waiting to avenge last year's semi-final, the Spanish number one sets a new record for clay. The winner of thirteen French Open, in fact, remains undefeated in the fifth sets played on this surface.

The record in Paris

The one played against Auger-Aliassime is the third fifth set that Rafael Nadal has played in his career on French clay.

Before the Canadian, two other partial fifths played and won by the Spaniard in Paris: against John Isner in the first round in 2011; against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of 2013, with a fight won in the tiebreak. The Serbian will be Nadal's opponent in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.

The precedents between the two champions in the same round and in the same tournament are two: in 2006 it was Nadal who triumphed, thanks to Djokovic's retirement; in 2015, it is the Serbian who wins the challenge, in three comfortable sets.

The same year in which Djokovic arrives in the final of the tournament, but loses the decisive match against Stan Wawrinka. Nadal won in 4 sets the quarter against Djokovic, to write another page of tennis history. And this story could not end soon!