French Open
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Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarter finals after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime. Photo: AFP

French Open: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic set up Roland Garros quarter final clash as Coleman Wong crashes out

  • Rafael Nadal set up a mouthwatering French Open quarter-final against Novak Djokovic after a dramatic victory over Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime
  • Hong Kong teen Coleman Wong crashed out of the French Open Junior Championship singles tournament with a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 loss to Switzerland’s Kilian Feldbausch
French Open

Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster French Open quarter final against world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday when he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set fourth round epic and pledged to “fight until the end”.

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, 112-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.

Rafael Nadal beats Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a tantalising quarter final clash with Djokovic. Photo: AFP

“We know each other well, we have a lot of history. The only thing I can say is that I will be focused, try my best and fight until the end,” said Nadal on facing the defending champion on Tuesday.

Djokovic has been responsible for two of Nadal’s three defeats in Paris – in the quarter-finals in 2015 and last year’s semi-finals. Nadal hailed 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who has been working with his uncle and former coach Toni since April last year.

“Felix is a great player. He’s very young with a lot of power and great mobility,” said the 35-year-old Spaniard who has made the last-eight for the 16th time.


Ninth-ranked Auger-Aliassime raced into a 3-1 lead in the first set and battled from three break points down to edge 4-1 ahead. Nadal retrieved one of the breaks in the seventh game but the 21-year-old Canadian held his nerve to pocket the opener.

Two loose forehands at 3-5 in the second set opened the door for 35-year-old Nadal while the third set swung the Spaniard’s way in the third game when three rapid, defensive scrambles forced an error from his opponent.

In a tense finale, Nadal converted the sixth of 22 break points he had carved out to lead 5-3 and held his nerve to claim his 109th victory at Roland Garros.

Djokovic also reached the quarter-finals for the 16th time when he eased to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory against 15th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

“It’s a huge challenge and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros. I’m ready for it,” said Djokovic of facing his old rival.

Djokovic is still to drop a set at Roland Garros after cruising through the first week. Djokovic or Nadal could face Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

On Sunday, Hong Kong teenager Coleman Wong Chak-lam crashed out of the French Open Junior Championship singles tournament with a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 loss to Switzerland’s Kilian Feldbausch.

Wong will have a shot at redemption in the doubles tournament when he rejoins Australian Open boys’ doubles partner Bruno Kuzuhara for a shot at the French Open Junior boys’ title.

Coco Gauff of the USA reacts after winning against Elise Mertens in their women’s fourth round match. Photo: EPA-EFE

In the wide open women’s event, which saw nine of the top 10 seeds fall before the second week, American teenager Coco Gauff set up a quarter-final duel with compatriot Sloane Stephens.

Gauff, 18, reached the last-eight for the second successive year with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Belgium’s Elise Mertens while 2018 runner-up Stephens defeated 23rd-seeded Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 6-2, 6-0.

Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez reached the quarter-finals for the first time.

Fernandez, seeded 17th, and who was US Open runner-up last year, fired an impressive 40 winners past 2019 semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova to secure a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win.

She next faces Martina Trevisan, the world number 59 from Italy who booked her place in the quarter-finals for the second time in three years, edging out Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus 7-6 (12/10), 7-5.