It took more than four hours, but Rafael Nadal came out on top in what was another great battle in one of tennis’ best rivalries.
Nadal knocked off defending champion Novak Djokovic on Wednesday night at Roland-Garros, beating the top-ranked player in the world 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
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“To win against Novak [Djokovic], there is only one way — to play at your best from the first point to the last,” Nadal said, via The Associated Press. “Tonight has been one of those magic nights for me.”
Nadal, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the world, will now play for a chance to reach the French Open final for a second time in three years. Nadal beat Djokovic to win the title in 2020, though he fell to Djokovic last year in the semifinals.
Djokovic still holds a slight edge in their head-to-head rivalry despite the loss on Wednesday, however, and leads 30-29.
“Always playing against him is an amazing challenge,” Nadal said of Djokovic, via The Associated Press. “All the history we have together, today was another one.”
Nadal will go up against No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday. Zverev beat Carlos Alcaraz Garfia 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) in his quarterfinal match earlier on Tuesday.
Nadal, who turns 36 on Friday, is now an incredible 110-3 in his career at Roland-Garros. A win at the event this year would mark the 22nd major win of his career, and the 14th at the French Open.