Tournament: French Open 2022.
Date: 29 May 2022.
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16).
Venue: Paris, France.
Category: Grand Slam.
Surface: Outdoor Clay.
Prize money: €21,256,800.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel, NBC Sports and Peacock TV | Canada - TSN | UK - Eurosport | India - Sony Ten.
Rafael Nadal vs Felix Auger-Aliassime preview
Twenty-one-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will take on World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round of the 2022 French Open on Sunday.
After straight-sets wins over Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet in the first couple of rounds, Nadal faced 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp in the third round. The Spaniard got broken in the very first game of the match, but wrestled back that break immediately.
Nadal secured another break of serve to lead 4-2 and soon nabbed the opener. The former World No. 1 reeled off five games in a row to go 5-1 up in the second set. Van de Zandschulp saved a set point on his serve to make it 5-2, but the Spaniard bagged the next game to take firm control of the match.
Nadal raced to a 4-0 lead in the third set, but his opponent fought back by winning the next three games. After trading service holds, the King of Clay stepped up to serve for the match. He failed to close it out on his first opportunity and then had to save a break point. He got the job done on his second match point to win 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, returned from the brink to defeat Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets in the first round. He followed it up with an easy win over Camilo Ugo Carabelli before taking out Filip Krajinovic in the third round.
Neither player lost serve in the opening set, but it was Auger-Aliassime who came out on top in the ensuing tie-break. The Canadian went up a break in the second set and held a couple of set points with Krajinovic serving at 5-3. However, the Serb held on.
Auger-Aliassime lost serve while serving for the set, but managed to win it by playing yet another flawless tie-break. The Canadian fell behind in the third set, but was able to even the score at 4-4. The World No. 9 ultimately broke his opponent in the 12th game of the match to win 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7-5.
Rafael Nadal vs Felix Auger-Aliassime head-to-head
Nadal leads Auger-Aliassime 1-0 in the head-to-head. He won their only previous encounter in straight sets at the 2019 Madrid Open.
Rafael Nadal vs Felix Auger-Aliassime odds
All odds are sourced from BetMGM.
Rafael Nadal vs Felix Auger-Aliassime prediction
After failing to make it past the first round of the French Open in the last couple of years, Auger-Aliassime has produced a stunning turnaround this year by reaching the last 16. However, he faces the most successful player in the history of the tournament in the form of Nadal for a spot in the last eight.
The Spaniard's defensive skills were on full display in his previous match against van de Zandschulp, and his trips to the net also proved to be successful, winning 65% of the points while coming forward. Nadal served quite well, winning 87% of his first-serve points.
Auger-Aliassime has also served well in the tournament so far, hitting a total of 38 aces across his three matches. He'll need to find a way to handle Nadal's forehand, as that'll determine his fate in the match. The Spaniard will undoubtedly target the Canadian's weaker backhand to try and break it down.
Auger-Aliassime could also try to incorporate a few more drop shots into his game, considering how far back the Spaniard sets up camp. Auger-Aliassime often plays his best in Grand Slams, but his level probably won't be enough to stop Nadal in Paris. The Spaniard is likely to fend off a spirited challenge from his younger opponent to move forward.
Pick: Rafael Nadal to win in four sets.