- Rafael Nadal and Félix Auger-Aliassime meet for only the second time in their careers Sunday
- The match, with a berth in the French Open quarterfinals at stake, will be played about 10 a.m. ET
- Nadal won their only meeting in 2019. Read on as we break down the matchup and make a prediction
Although Félix Auger-Aliassime had already arrived near the top echelons of the game in 2018, ranked No. 30, he was still just 18 when he met Rafael Nadal for the first time.
He managed just six games.
You can find all of the predictions for the other top-half Round of 16 matches here.
Auger-Aliassime vs Nadal Odds
| Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)||+7.5 (-125)||+450||O 31.5 (-120)|
| Rafael Nadal (ESP)||-7.5 (-105)||-700||U 31.5 (-110)|
Odds as of May 28 at Caesars Sportsbook
By then, Nadal’s uncle/coach Toni Nadal was already out of the Rafa picture. But at the time, Toni Nadal had not yet signed on as a consultant to the young Auger-Aliassime.
That happened in Feb. 2021. This is the first meeting between the student and the nephew since then.
But for Toni Nadal, there is no conflict. Family before work. He won’t be in Auger-Aliassime’s player’s box. And he never planned on doing much to help Auger-Aliassime beat his nephew, when they inevitably met.
No Secrets in Nadal’s Game
But, as Auger-Aliassime pointed out after his third-round win over a tricky opponent in Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, there likely isn’t anything new that even “Uncle Toni” can tell anyone about how to beat Nadal.
Especially at the French Open, which he’s won 13 times.
It’s really, really, really hard to beat him there.
Auger-Aliassime vs Nadal Head-to-Head
|21 (Aug. 8, 2000)||Age||35 (June 3, 1986)|
|Montreal, Canada||Birthplace||Manacor, Mallorca|
|1||Career ATP Singles Titles||91|
|No. 9 (Jan. 10, 2022)||Career High Ranking||No. 1 (Aug. 18, 2008)|
|No. 9||Current Ranking||No. 5|
|$7,031,580||Career Prize Money||$128,337,592|
|26-12||2022 Won/Loss record||26-3|
|0||Career Head to Head||1|
Auger-Aliassime in Full Confidence
The 21-year-old Canadian had not even won a main-draw match in Paris, coming into this year’s edition.
He had been snakebitten – by injury, by an off-day, by a bad matchup.
🎾FELIX. FEELING. IT.🎾
🇨🇦Felix Auger-Aliassime is off to the fourth round of #RolandGarros.
— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) May 27, 2022
But now, not only has he broken through – and also, in his first-round win over Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas, come back from a two-sets-to-none deficit to win a five-setter – he’s into the second week.
That gives him a complete set at all four majors.
And of course he’d like to go further.
Auger-Aliassime vs Nadal Match History
|2019||Masters Madrid (R32)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 6-3||Nadal|
Auger-Aliassime Facing History, and the Best
There’s little point in harping on their first meeting, even though the conditions in Madrid suit Auger-Aliassime’s game well, while they are Nadal’s least favorite because of the altitude.
The Canadian is a much better player now. But will the result, in the end, be any different?
The cross-court rally pattern pits Nadal’s hugely-spun forehand with Auger-Aliassime’s weaker side, the backhand. And the Canadian hasn’t hit his own backhand down the line enough in recent weeks to get to Nadal’s backhand.
But that’s where he’s going to have to go. And he’ll have to keep up the serving level that he has displayed through most of the tournament to give himself a chance.
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Auger-Aliassime vs Nadal Prediction
There always is the looming possibility that Nadal’s chronic foot issue, which flares up at the more innopportune and unexpected times, might end up being a factor.
It certainly was a few weeks ago, when Nadal squared off with Auger-Aliassime’s countryman and longtime friend Denis Shapovalov in Rome. Shapovalov won that one, but he had some help.
Nadal was mobbed by fans and slowed by security measures as he tried to get into the Stade de France Saturday night with his family, to see his beloved Real Madrid play in the Champions League Final.
“RAFA, RAFA” 😃
HE WAS IN TIME 😁
the stadium is sheering for @RafaelNadal before the belated Champions Leaugue final @realmadrid vs. Liverpool in Paris #Rafa #Nadal #RealMadrid #CLFINAL #LiverpoolVsRealMadrid pic.twitter.com/JY6GFWGDag
— RafasPuepppy♡🎾🇪🇸💪🏽♡ (@puepppy) May 28, 2022
Hopefully he got out unscathed. We know he didn’t overcelebrate even though his team took the title.
They might have played the night-session match Sunday, with a 9 p.m. start. But the ball is slower and bounces lower at night; Nadal is not a particular fan of it. That’s a good thing; the weather will be the coolest it’s been all tournament on Sunday afternoon – never mind at night.
Perhaps those conditions might help the Canadian, as he’ll get more shots at making forehands closer to his hitting zone.
But it would be a shock if he pulled it off, even though we think he’ll cover the 7.5 game spread (-125).
Best Bet: Nadal in Four Sets (+295)
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