Spanish stalwart and winner of 13 titles at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal, secured his 15th semifinal appearance at the French Open by edging arch-rival and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in an epic quarterfinal showdown in the early hours of Wednesday.
The No.5 seed won a breath-taking tiebreak in the fourth set to wrap up victory over the top seed in four hours and 12 minutes at 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
"He was the better player in the important moments. 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," said Djokovic.
"In the end it has been a very emotional night for me. I'm still playing for nights like today," said Nadal.
"But it's just a quarterfinals match. So I didn't win anything. I just give myself a chance to be back on court in two days. Playing another semifinal here in Roland Garros means a lot to me," he added.
Next for Nadal is third seed Alexander Zverev, who overcame Spanish sensational teenager Carlos Alcaraz in another dramatic clash earlier on Tuesday. The German needed to dig deep to hold off Alcaraz's fight-back in the third set to clinch the win 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7) after three hours and 18 minutes.