PARIS (AFP) – Rafael Nadal edged a late-night classic against old rival Novak Djokovic in the early hours of Wednesday in four sets to reach his 15th French Open semifinal.
The 13-time Roland Garros champion won the pair’s 59th career meeting 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) after a four-hour-and-12-minute quarter-final on a raucous Court Philippe Chatrier.
Nadal sealed his eighth victory in 10 French Open matches against last year’s winner Djokovic at 1:16 a.m. local time to set up a last-four clash with third seed Alexander Zverev.
Zverev beat Carlos Alcaraz in a dramatic four-set clash, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7) after three hours and 18 minutes.
Zverev moved into his second straight last-four match at Roland Garros with his first-ever Grand Slam win over a top-10 player.
“I hope I can win it before he starts beating us all and we have no chance,” said Zverev.
“The match was swinging his way. I’m extremely happy to win the tie-break.”
Alcaraz has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1,000 events, but made 56 unforced errors as he missed the chance to reach a first major semi-final.
Instead, Olympic champion Zverev reached the last four at a Slam for the fifth time in his career to maintain his bid for a maiden title at one of the sport’s four biggest events.
It also gave him a measure of revenge for the heavy defeat he suffered against Alcaraz in the Madrid Masters final earlier this month.
Alcaraz delighted the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd with a rally to take the third set.
A dramatic fourth set saw Zverev miss a chance to serve out the tie, but he sealed victory on his second match point in the tie-break.