Rafael Nadal converts his match point against permanent rival Novak Djokovic late at night. After four high-class sets, the Spaniard is moving into the semifinals of the French Open – Alexander Zverev is now waiting there. Meanwhile, the tennis icon leaves his future open.
Rafael Nadal won the giant duel against Novak Djokovic at the French Open. The 13-time Paris champion won 6: 2, 4: 6, 6: 2, 7: 6 (7: 4) at the Stade Roland Garros early on Wednesday morning and will now meet Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday.
The Olympic champion had previously prevailed against the Spanish tennis prodigy Carlos Alcaraz 6: 4, 6: 4, 4: 6, 7: 6 (9: 7) and thus, like last year, reached the round of the last four at the Stade Roland Garros .
In a high-quality game at 1.15 a.m. local time, Nadal converted his fourth match point after 4:12 hours of play. In the 59th duel between the two superstars, it was Nadal’s 29th victory.
After his defeat, Djokovic struggled with the start of the evening games in Paris. “I think they start too late,” Djokovic said early Wednesday morning. “But the TV stations decide when to play. They give the money, they decide who plays in the night session, that’s the world we live in,” said the Serb.
Nadal, in turn, left his future open after the French Open. “I’m playing this tournament because we’re getting things done that I’m ready to play the tournament. But I don’t know what happens after that,” said the 35-year-old record Grand Slam winner.
The Spaniard has been playing with a chronic foot injury, the so-called Müller-Weiss syndrome, for a long time. Just three weeks ago, Nadal could hardly walk at the end of a match at the tournament in Rome. “Having a doctor with me here helps a lot,” said Nadal. “But the last three months haven’t been easy, so I was very emotional after the game today,” admitted the 13-time Paris champion.
Nadal’s full focus is now on the semifinals against Alexander Zverev on Friday and a possible final on Sunday. After that you have to see how it goes. “I have what I have in my foot. So if we’re not able to find an improvement or a little fix for that, then it’s going to be super difficult for me,” Nadal said. “Of course I will continue to fight to find a solution, but so far we haven’t found any.”