Nadal and Djokovic remain on collision course for Roland-Garros quarter-finals | French Open 2022

Nadal and Djokovic remain on collision course for Roland-Garros quarter-finals | French Open 2022

Rafael Nadal continued his momentum at Roland Garros as he enters the fourth round by edging out Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. In the process, Nadal set up a notable encounter against ninth-seeded Félix Auger-Aliassime, who calmly sailed in three tight sets to beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7- 5.

Since last April, when he climbed the rankings to become a top 10 player, Auger-Aliassime has been working closely with Nadal’s uncle Toni, who has been the Spaniard’s main coach ever since. her childhood until 2017, and was instrumental in much of her success. Toni Nadal remains the director of Rafa Nadal Academy which means he is basically employed by the two players.

When asked during his post-match press conference whether or not he would speak to his uncle in the build-up to his match with Auger-Aliassime, Nadal replied, to widespread amusement, noting that they had already spoken in the short window after his match.

“He’s my uncle,” Nadal said with a shrug. “I don’t think he can want me to lose, no doubt, but he’s a professional and he’s with another player. I don’t know what’s going to happen, if he’s going to stay in the box or not, but I don’t care. I have no problem with that. So it’s not a story for me at all. I know what feelings we have between us.

Toni, for his part, said he would sit out the game rather than give Auger-Aliassime advice on how to beat his nephew: “If we have to play with Rafa, I won’t be on either bench out of respect. for both players and because I am still the manager of the [Rafa Nadal] Academy, I still work for him and I’m Rafael’s uncle,” he said, according to Marca.

Auger-Aliassime’s press conference was understandably dominated by questions about Toni Nadal’s decision to recuse himself from the match, which the Canadian ignored by pointing out that Nadal’s career is greater than just this encounter.

Novak Djokovic executes a perfect slide to return a forehand
Novak Djokovic executes a perfect slide to return a forehand. Photography: Thibault Camus/AP

“I don’t know how Toni feels,” he said. “Maybe we should ask him, but he didn’t tell me. But I also think you have to remember, because I know this question is going to come up a lot, I just want to say, you know, for me, like, Rafa’s career and what he’s done with Toni is a lot bigger than the game tomorrow.

Nadal and Novak Djokovic are now one win apiece from facing each other in the French Open quarter-finals as Djokovic also progressed to the fourth round with an uneventful win in straight sets on Friday.

On Court Philippe Chatrier, just before Nadal finished his match on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic calmly brushed aside Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. Djokovic and Nadal are yet to drop a set in Paris, but they will both face tougher opposition in the fourth round in the form of the 15 seeds. Djokovic will face 15th seed Diego Schwartzman, the 2020 semi-finalist, who dismantled Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.

During his press conference, Djokovic was asked if the new Australian government could have a positive effect on his chances of playing in Australia again. “I don’t know if my visa is going to be reinstated or if I’m going to be allowed to come back to Australia,” Djokovic said. “I would love to. I would love to go there and play the Australian Open. I have no hard feelings. Look, it was what it was.

Late last Friday night, 10th-seeded British number one Cameron Norrie failed to qualify for his first career grand slam in the fourth round as he lost 6-2, 7-5, 5- 7, 6-4 against 21st seed Karen. Khachanov. Norrie trailed by a break in the third set before forcing a fourth set, but he was ultimately undone by his 59 unforced errors and 1/10 break points earned in the first two sets. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz continued his march to the draw as he reached the fourth round of the French Open with a routine 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Sebastian Korda.

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