Rafael Nadal overcame a determined challenge from Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a quarterfinal clash against Novak Djokovic.
The Spaniard prevailed 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in an enthralling battle.
This was only the third time in his 112 matches that Nadal was taken to the fifth set at Roland Garros and he ensured he kept his blemish-free record intact, wrapping up the win in four hours and 21 minutes.
With Djokovic already doing his part to set up their 59th meeting, Nadal took the court for his second meeting against Auger-Aliassime but the first since Toni Nadal began working with the Canadian in 2021.
The 21-year-old surprised everyone with immense grit and incredible athleticism to win the opening set.
Nadal cut down on his errors in the second after wasting six breakpoint opportunities in the first and made his chance count in the eighth game to break his opponent and level the contest at 1-1.
Nadal the Canadian twice in the third to lead 2-1 but the challenger refused to go down without a fight.
After an early trade of service breaks, Auger-Aliassime broke Nadal’s delivery a second time to take the contest to a deciding fifth set.
The Spaniard still had enough left in his tank to clinch the deciding break against Auger-Aliassime in the eighth game and then held his serve, sealing the contest on his first match point with a winner.
A Nadal and Djokovic quarterfinal has been on the cards since the draw was announced. In what will be the pair’s 59th meeting, Nadal will be looking to avenge last year’s loss and take a massive step towards a 14th French Open title.