It was Djokovic’s first victory over Nadal at a Grand Slam championship since their epic 2012 Australian Open final contest and earned the Serb a semi-final clash with either Andy Murray or David Ferrer on Friday.
Read How The Match Was Won
The 28-year-old Djokovic is bidding to become the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam. The Belgrade native had been thwarted by Nadal at Roland Garros the past three years, losing to the Spaniard in the final in 2012 and 2014 and in the semi-finals in 2013.
But the Serb had too much for Nadal in their 44th meeting on Court Philippe Chatrier. He limited Nadal to just three forehand winners as he raced to victory in two hours and 26 minutes. Victory saw him close the gap to 21-23 on Nadal in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Djokovic extended his winning streak to 27 matches. The right-hander has not been beaten since losing to Roger Federer in the Dubai final in February, going on to lift the trophies at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells (d. Federer), Miami (d. Murray), Monte-Carlo (d. Berdych) and Rome (d. Federer).
Djokovic is attempting to win his ninth Grand Slam championship and also keep alive his chance of claiming the calendar Grand Slam. The Serb was victorious at the Australian Open in January, beating Murray in the final.
The 29-year-old Nadal was looking to become the first player in the Open Era to win 10 titles at a Grand Slam championship. The Spaniard has a staggering 70-2 record on the terre battue of Roland Garros, with his only other defeat coming against Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round.
With the defeat, Nadal is set to fall to No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday; his lowest position since April 2005. Should Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Stan Wawrinka and reach the final, Nadal would fall to No. 11.
I haven't always been a fan of Novak in the past, but there's no denying that he is one hell of a tennis player. And I've found myself really enjoying watching his matches in the last few years.
This was an outstanding performance, highly competitive & highly entertaining. Not to mention extremely impressive.
Only one other man has been able to beat Nadal in Paris & he had to do it in 4 grueling sets.
Novak Djokovic has now done something not even Roger Federer is capable of, and as a life long Roger fan that's a form of the highest compliment.
So well done Novak. You've definitely proven above and beyond why you belong at #1.
Andy Murray is next. That will definitely be another tough test for Novak, should be equally fun to watch.