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Rafael Nadal ousts Novak Djokovic in French epic

May 29, 2022; Paris, France; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts to a point during his match against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) on day eight of the French Open at Stade Roland-Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

In a French Open quarterfinal match worthy of a championship classic, Rafael Nadal of Spain outlasted world No. 1 and rival Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a duel that began Tuesday night in Paris and ended past 1 a.m.

The four-hour, 12-minute marathon at Roland Garros marked the first men’s match in the Open era pitting opponents with at least 20 career Grand Slam wins, 1,000 match wins or 300 Grand Slam victories.

It marked the second straight match that took over four hours to complete for the fifth-seeded Nadal, who turns 36 on Friday. The Serbian Djokovic, who won the last head-to-head battle between the two living legends in last year’s semifinal, now leads the all-time series against Nadal 30-29.

In the semifinals, Nadal will continue his pursuit of extending his French Open record of 13 singles titles against Germany’s Alexander Zverev. The No. 3 seed Zverev defeated No. 6 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7) earlier on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media