Rafael Nadal overcame long-time rival Novak Djokovic in a late-night thriller to reach the men’s singles semi-finals on Tuesday.
In their 59th meeting, Rafael Nadal, going for a 14th title, fought off resistance from defending champion Djokovic to win 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) at Roland Garros.
The 35-year-old secured victory at 1:15am local time after over four hours on court.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner will now meet third seed Alex Zverev on Friday, who had earlier just about managed to stop a comeback from the young pretender, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.
Recall that 25-year-old Zverev reached the semi-finals for the second successive year after surviving teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz’s fightback earlier on Tuesday.
“I am old enough to not hide things or come here to say a thing that I don’t believe,” Nadal said.
“I don’t know what can happen. I think, as I said before, I’m going to be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s going to happen after here.
“I have what I have in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or small solution to that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me. So that’s it.
“I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future. Of course I’m going to keep fighting to find a solution, but for the moment we haven’t [got one].
“So just giving myself a chance to play another semi-final here at Roland-Garros is a lot of energy for me.”
Nadal has spent eight and a half hours on court in his past two matches, and will be grateful for an extra day of rest before Friday’s semi-final.