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Nadal, Djokovic set sights on French Open showdown


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FILE – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (L) and Spain’s Rafael Nadal shake palms on the finish of their males’s singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis event in Paris on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will look to e-book a heavyweight French Open quarterfinal conflict Sunday, whereas Carlos Alcaraz hopes to increase his run after changing into the youngest man to make the final 16 since 2006.

Record 13-time Roland Garros champion Nadal takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian ninth seed educated by Toni Nadal, the Spanish star’s uncle and coach for the perfect a part of three a long time.

“For me, it’s very simple,” mentioned Nadal.

“He is my uncle. He will not want me to lose. He wants the best for me and I want the best for him. But he’s a professional and with another player now. It’s zero problem.”

Auger-Aliassime began working with Toni Nadal in April 2021, 4 years after Nadal and his uncle referred to as time on their 27-year, trophy-laden affiliation.

“We knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I’m working with Toni,” mentioned Auger-Aliassime, who made his first Grand Slam semifinal on the US Open in September.

“I feel Toni will watch from a impartial place and benefit from the match. From my half it’s one other match.

“Rafa’s career and what he did with Toni is much bigger than the match on Sunday.”

Nadal’s report on the French Open reads 108 wins in opposition to simply three defeats.

He has reached at the least the final eight in 15 of 17 visits to Paris. Nadal misplaced to Robin Soderling within the fourth spherical in 2009 and withdrew earlier than the third spherical in 2016 with a wrist damage.

Another victory for Nadal would ship him via to a quarter-final with Djokovic ought to the world primary and defending champion defeat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in his last-16 conflict.

Alcaraz follows in Djokovic footsteps

Djokovic has gained all six earlier conferences with Schwartzman, the fifteenth seed from Argentina, together with a five-set victory within the third spherical at Roland Garros in 2017.

Alcaraz, 19, is the youngest man via to the second week of the French Open since Djokovic 16 years in the past.

After saving a match level within the second spherical, the sixth seed gained revenge in opposition to the one man to beat him on clay this yr, defeating American Sebastian Korda in straight units.

“I think I am ready,” mentioned Alcaraz. “If I win this tournament I would say it’s my golden ticket.”

He has gained 20 of 21 matches on clay this season and subsequent faces twenty first seed Karen Khachanov.

Third seed and 2021 semi-finalist Alexander Zverev performs qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles, the 134th-ranked Spaniard who’s having fun with his finest run at a significant and took down John Isner within the final 32.

Last yr’s US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez tackles American twenty seventh seed Amanda Anisimova, who made the final 4 in Paris three years in the past and knocked out Naomi Osaka within the first spherical.

Coco Gauff, 18, seeks a repeat of her quarter-final look from a yr in the past when she meets Belgium’s Elise Mertens, whereas Swiss twenty third seed Jil Teichmann performs former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who misplaced the 2018 Roland Garros ultimate.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich will attempt to attain the final eight of a significant for the primary time in opposition to Italy’s Martina Trevisan, a shock quarterfinalist in 2020.

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