Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 8 - Nadal takes the long road

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And all of a sudden we had an epic. Rafael Nadal was taken to the limit by Felix Auger-Aliassime who is coached by none other than Nadal's uncle.

Coco the role model

Not yet out of her teens and Coco Gauff is also a symbol of success. “I think it's crazy, really,” enthused the 18-year-old after reaching the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year. “I signed autographs in Madrid and here I signed some and took a picture with some girls and they were freaking out after I left. I went down the stairs. I could still hear them screaming about it. I kind of teared up because people feel about me in that way.” The American, seeded 18th, was certainly the darling of the centre crowd as she traded bludgeons with the 31st seed Elise Mertens. After a tight first set lasting 57 minutes, Gauff ran away with the second 6-0 to reach the last eight. There'll be more things to sign should she reach the semis.

Coco the charmer

After her straight sets victory over Elise Mertens, Coco Gauff had to go through the on-court interview with Marion Bartoli. The usual blandishments emerged about the wonderful crowd and playing well against a tough opponent. And then Gauff suddenly went rogue. “Marion, I’ve got to tell you this is really an honour for me," she gushed. "I remember when I was younger you were practicing really hard at a tournament – I can’t remember which one – but you took time out and signed autographs for like 15 minutes. I was really impressed." The startled Bartoli mumbled something about it being her honour. But she had been outmanoeuvred.

Interconnectedness

Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane watched Rafael Nadal on Day 6, Nadal went to see Real Madrid in their Champions League final against Liverpool on Day 7 at the Stade de France. On Day 8, the former France international turned broadcaster Thierry Henry came to Roland Garros to see the match between Leylah Fernandez and Amanda Anisimova on centre court. He nipped over to check out Novak Djokovic demolish Diego Schwartzman much in the manner of how he used to destroy defences in his days as a fleet-footed forward for Arsenal. Nice number

New rafa moves

The Vamosometer was in action on day 8 during the match between 13-time champion Rafael Nadal and Félix Auger-Aliassime. The 21-year-old Canadian is coached by Nadal's uncle Toni, the man who plotted and schemed with him over so many triumphs. As proceedings got a tad tense, Nadal dipped into the back catalogue of screams and grimaces to encourage him through his sloughs. He even did an old style triple push down of his left fist as he went down on one knee. And there was a new move - just standing up straight and moving his shoulders up and down. We liked that. Our favourite though was jumping up, landing on his tiptoes and then moving both shoulders up and down. Wonder if we'll see the repertoire during the quarter-final against Novak Djokovic on Day 10.

Night fever

Carlos Alcaraz was asked after playing against Sebastian Korda in the Day 6 night session if he liked playing at that time. The 19-year-old said gave a big thumbs up. Lo and behold, the sixth seed was out late on Day 8 against Karen Khachanov from Russia. The 19-year-old romped through the first set 6-1 in only 25 minutes. No need to get the hot cocoa out with Carlos about.

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