Roland-Garros: Nadal wins to set up clash against Auger Aliassime.. and Uncle Toni
Rafael Nadal defeated Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to score his 301st Grand Slam career win
13-time champion Rafael Nadal scored a straight sets win over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp to reach the fourth round at Roland-Garros on Friday, setting up an intriguing clash against ninth seed Felix Auger–Aliassime, who is now coached by Rafa’s uncle Toni Nadal.
Seeded five this year, Nadal, who turns 36 years old one week from today, needed two hours and 12 minutes to beat van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The 26th seeded Dutchman fought back from 4-0 down to 4-3 in the third set and had a break point to level the set at 5-5 but Nadal managed to hold his serve to close out the win.
The Spaniard, who is looking for his first clay court title of the season, has yet to drop a set in three matches in Paris so far this year.
Rafael Nadal leads Auger-Aliassime 1-0 in career head-to-head
Up next for Rafael Nadal in the fourth round will be the No 9 seed Auger-Aliassime, who scored a 7-6, 7-6, 7-5 win over Filip Krajinovic.
Auger-Aliassime, who had never won a main draw match in Paris until this year, is now through to the last 16 for the fourth Grand Slam in a row and for the fifth time in the last six Majors.
The Spaniard has a 1-0 lead in the head-to-head between the two players but there will be one significant difference when they clash on Sunday.
When Nadal defeated Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 in the round of 32 in Madrid in 2019, his uncle and long-time coach Toni Nadal was in his box. On Sunday, Uncle Toni, as he is fondly called, will be part of Auger-Aliassime’s team, having taken up the role of coaching the Canadian since April 2021. It remains to be seen though if Uncle Toni will watch the match from the stands or Auger-Aliassime’s box or keep away from the stadium.
Paris (Grand Slam): Friday men’s third-round results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay, EUR 43.600.000)
- Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Filip Krajinovic: 7-6 , 7-6 , 7-5
- Novak Djokovic (1) beat Aljaz Bedene: 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
- Diego Schwartzman (15) beat Grigor Dimitrov (18): 6-3, 6-1, 6-2