PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal has beaten Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a monumental match in the quarterfinals to move a step closer to his 14th championship at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament and 22nd major trophy overall.
The match began a little past 9 p.m. Tuesday night and concluded more than four hours later, after 1 a.m.
Nadal ended the top-seeded Djokovic’s bid for a second consecutive title at the French Open. He also made sure Djokovic remains behind him in the Slam count with 20.
Nadal improved to 110-3 for his career at Roland Garros. Two of those losses came against Djokovic, including in last year’s semifinals.
This showdown was the 59th of their careers, more than any other two men have played each other in the Open era. Nadal narrowed Djokovic’s lead to 30-29.
Nadal turns 36 on Friday, when he will face third-seeded Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.
Third-seeded Alexander Zverev knocked Carlos Alcaraz out of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7) victory in the quarterfinals.
The 2020 U.S. Open runner-up will next face either No. 1 Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal for a spot in the final.
Zverev served for the victory at 5-4 in the fourth set but the 19-year-old Alcaraz broke him there.
The 25-year-old German converted his second match point, sending a backhand return just out of Alcaraz’s reach.
The sixth-seeded Alcaraz had entered the match boasting a 32-3 record this year with a tour-leading four titles. But the Spanish teenager made 16 unforced errors in the first set, when Zverev broke in the fifth game. He then broke Alcaraz in the seventh game of the second set.
Zverev allowed the young Spaniard just six break points and fended off four of them at Court Philippe Chatrier, improving to 3-1 against Alcaraz.
It is Zverev’s first win over a top-10 opponent in a Grand Slam tournament.
Alcaraz was trying to become the youngest semifinalist since 2005 when Nadal reached the final four at the age of 19.
Zverev also reached the semifinals at Roland Garros a year ago.
American teenager Coco Gauff reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
The 18-year-old Gauff will next face another first-time semifinalist in Martina Trevisan, who earlier beat Leylah Fernandez.
Gauff built early leads in both sets and Stephens made errors at key points on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The 18th-seeded Gauff led 3-1 in the second set when Stephens missed an opportunity to get back on serve, sending a drive volley long on her third break-point chance before Gauff won the next two points.
Stephens had won three straight games to even the first set at 5-5 but Gauff won the next seven points and broke for the set. Stephens missed a backhand volley to hand Gauff her first set-point opportunity.
The 29-year-old Stephens, the former No. 3, won at Flushing Meadows in 2017 and was the runner-up at Roland Garros the next year.
Gauff has not dropped a set on her run to the semifinals.
Martina Trevisan advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the age of 28 by beating a hobbled Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3 at the French Open.
Trevisan will next face either Coco Gauff or Sloane Stephens.
The Italian had a chance to win in two sets against the 17th-seeded Canadian at Court Philippe Chatrier but Fernandez saved a match point and then won the tiebreaker.
Trevisan double-faulted twice in the tiebreaker but won the first seven points of the third set and broke twice en route to a 4-0 lead.
The 19-year-old Fernandez, who reached the U.S. Open final last September, received treatment on her right foot during the first set when she hit 15 unforced errors. She had the foot taped during a medical timeout after the fifth game, trailing 3-2.
It’s the 10th straight win for the 59th-ranked Trevisan, who reached the French Open quarterfinals two years ago. She won her first tour title this month in Rabat, Morocco.
The French Open quarterfinals are set to build to a crescendo on Day 10 when Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic wrap up the action on Court Philippe Chatrier, a 59th career meeting between two players with a combined 41 Grand Slam singles titles.
The first of the quarterfinals at Roland Garros is underway with Martina Trevisan of Italy taking a nine-match winning streak into her match with U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who is into the last eight of a clay-court tournament for the first time.
There are three American women in the last eight but, with 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and 18-year-old Coco Gauff meeting in the second match on Court Philippe Chatrier, only two can possibly advance. Jessica Pegula is on the other side of the draw. Stephens reached the final in Paris in 2018; Gauff lost in the quarterfinals last year.
In the first of the men’s quarterfinals, 2020 U.S. Open runner-up Alexander Zverev is taking on 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.
Nadal, who has won 13 of his men’s record 21 major singles titles at Roland Garros, has an overall win-loss record of 109-3 at the French Open. Two of those three losses in Paris came against Djokovic, who leads 30-28 in their overall head-to-heads.