PARIS — As the kids like to say these days, it’s on.
Far sooner than many may have hoped, Novak Djokovic, the reigning French Open champion, will take on Rafael Nadal, a 13-time champion at Roland Garros, in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday, the first rematch of two of the leading men’s players since their epic semifinal last June.
It took some of Nadal’s greatest tennis to survive a five-set, four-hour, 21-minute thriller Sunday evening against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, but the match that so many crave is on the horizon.
“A huge challenge and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros,” Djokovic said, anticipating Nadal, after his fourth straight-sets win, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3, a pummeling of Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. “I’m ready for it.”
Perhaps more than Nadal, who survived one of the great scares of his storied French Open career against Auger-Aliassime, the athletic and tireless Canadian with a booming serve and big forehand.