Quebec pushed the best player in clay court history to play a final set, but eventually gave up 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 after 4 hours and 20 minutes of fighting.
I believed in my chance to the end. This is the kind of game you dream of winning. Everything was given, I tried everything to the end. I have no regrets, but despite everything, it’s the kind of match you think about after that, it was great to winafter the meeting.
Auger-Aliassime was tied up with his opponent until the end of the fifth inning when he was broken. Rafael Nadal, 5-3 at the top of the standings, put an end to this very long debate since the next match.
No player so far this year has managed to snatch a single round from the fifth seed in the tournament at Roland Garros.
In the entire history of the tournament, only Novak Djokovic in 2013 and John Isner in 2011 managed to push Nadal to the maximum of five sets, without winning.
On Sunday, as soon as the rackets were set, the two players shook hands warmly at each other at the net, which undoubtedly pleased Uncle Tony Nadal, the advisor of the Auger-Aliassime clan.
As agreed at the beginning of their cooperation in 2021, neutrality will be suitable for the duels between the Canadian bloc and his nephew, with whom Tony won 16 Grand Slam titles, including 10 of 13 at Roland Garros.
Nadal said he is an extraordinary player, one of the best in the world, about his opponent today. He is very young, very strong, and his movement is extraordinary. He was a very tough opponent and he did a lot of things very well.
” It gets better every year; I wish him success because he is a good man. It’s a big win for me today. »
If, at times, literature beats the correctness of words in this type of interview in front of the audience, then Nadal’s words were honest and fair.
Auger-Aliassime defended his left opponent for much of the match. In the first set, every time Ciss seemed to be in the service cables, he managed to get out of it. Twice, he saved three consecutive break points on his way to the first set 6-3.
At times, Nadal seemed to still keep his head in the Stade de France, as he was the day before the Champions League final, which Real Madrid won.
He finished the first round with stats contrary to his habits: barely 50% of the first serve balls in play, and only 6 winning shots for 15 easy fouls.
Nadal, the 13-times Paris champion, made it clear that I didn’t start well with all these missed points. After that, things improved but the start of the fourth round was difficult. He’s got a big serve and it’s hard to put him off. I’m glad I was able to be more aggressive in the end.
So; Nadal is not Nadal for nothing.
From the second round, he gradually regained his hand against Auger-Aliassime, who had not slowed down. He got two breaks in the third set and looked set to win.
That was not counting the determination of the ninth seed, who had never given up. The two acrobats multiplied the amazing exchanges, marked by winning consumptions or exceptional defensive maneuvers.
Auger-Aliassime never seemed afraid of the Spaniard. Auger-Alessem never stopped hitting all his hard from the baseline with the most successful man in history at a Grand Slam.
The devastating forehand sent kicker Nadal on several occasions. Nadal retaliated, however, by defeating Auger-Aliassime in several of his net runs.
At most, the Quebec player looked jittery in his last run of the fifth set. Nadal, like an old fox, felt it was time to step up.
I will sharpen my game to be able to win matches like this, and achieve my ultimate goal.explained Auger Eliassim.
In the fifth round, he was more aggressive and succeeded. Thanks to him.
Before the match, Frederic Fontang told Radio Canada Sports that his stepson could not lose on Sunday: either he won the match or he knew.
The lesson, although difficult to digest today, will certainly come in handy after a long time.
In the quarter-finals, he will face Rafael Nadal with Novak Djokovic, one of only two players in history to have previously lost at Roland Garros with Swede Robin Soderling.
This will be the 59th match between the two living legends and the first since Djokovic’s semi-final victory at Roland Garros last year.
We have a long history, he and I, Nadal said. He won the Rome championship this season, while my preparation was not perfect. But here is my favorite place. I will focus and try to play as best I can. I will fight to the end.
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