PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal insists he can’t know for sure whether any match at Roland Garros might be his very last at a place he loves, a place he is loved.

For now, if he keeps winning and keeps performing the way he did during his monumental quarterfinal victory over longtime rival Novak Djokovic, Nadal will have more chances to play.

With a mix of brilliant shot-making and his trademark resilience, Nadal got past the top-seeded defending French Open champion Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to move a step closer to his 14th championship at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament and what would be a 22nd major trophy overall, adding to records that he already owns.

“To win against Novak, there is only one way — to play at your best from the first point to the last,” Nadal said. “Tonight has been one of those magic nights for me.”

For anyone lucky enough to be there, too, or even anyone watching from afar.

The match began a little past 9 p.m. Tuesday and concluded more than four hours later, after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

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Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match in four sets against Novak Djokovic at Stade Roland-Garros.

Nary a game, a point, a stroke or, indeed, a step came with a hint of insouciance. Both men gave their all. Nothing came easily.

The bracket said this was a quarterfinal, yes, but it felt like a final, from the quality of play to the quality of effort, from the anticipation that preceded it to the atmosphere that enveloped it.

The only missing ingredient: There was no trophy handed to the winner.



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