Rafael Nadal described his incredible victory over Novak Djokovic as a “magic night” as he reached the French Open semi-finals for the 15th time.
Nadal held off a strong challenge from the defending champion to win an epic contest in four hours and 12 minutes.
The 13-time champion was two breaks up in all of the first three sets and then rallied from 5-3 down in the fourth set to clinch victory at 1.15am in Paris.
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“Very happy,” said Nadal in his on-court interview.
“A very emotional moment for me; it’s incredible to play here…The support was incredible for me, everybody knows how important it is for me to play here; it’s the most important tournament of my career, and it will remain a special tournament for me.
“[It was] a very tough match….Novak is one of the best players in history without doubt; so always playing against him is an amazing challenge with all the history we have together.
“Today was another one, and to win against him there is only one way: to play your best from the first point to the last. Tonight has been one of these magic nights for me; an unexpected level but super happy.”
The match was the 59th career meeting between Nadal and Djokovic, who are vying to finish their careers with the most Grand Slam titles.
Nadal is just two wins away from a 22nd major which would move two ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer.
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He will next face Alexander Zverev after the world No. 3 beat Carlos Alcaraz in four sets.
“Of course there is no one other place like [Chatrier] for me,” added Nadal.
“It is just the most important court of my tennis career; the most special one, and as I said before, I really felt the love of Paris in the most important place of my career…it means everything to me. See you in two days!”
Djokovic, who will now have to wait until Wimbledon to win another Grand Slam title, said: "He showed why he's a great champion.
"Staying there mentally tough and finishing the match the way he did. Congrats to him and his team. No doubt he deserved it."
On the other side of the draw, Marin Cilic faces Andrey Rublev and Holger Rune takes on Casper Ruud.
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