Rafael Nadal celebrates victory over Novak Djokovic. | Gonzalo Fuentes

Rafael Nadal, going for a 14th French Open title, beat Novak Djokovic 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) at Roland Garros on Tuesday night to reach the men's singles semi-finals and an encounter with third seed Alexander Zverev.

Victory came at quarter past one after over four hours on court. Nadal, the number five seed, extended his record at Roland Garros to 110 wins in 113 matches and avenged last year's semi-final defeat to the world number one.

In the first set, Nadal threatened to blow Djokovic off court. Playing with great intensity, he left the Serb at times bemused by the sheer power of his shots. The number one seed responded in the second set, having been 3-0 down. And in the fourth it looked as if the match was due to go even longer into the Parisian night. Djokovic broke Nadal's serve to go 2-0 up and then missed two set points at 5-3.

But Nadal isn't called the King of Clay for nothing. Nadal was at one point 6-1 up in the tie-break, eventually taking his fourth match point.

After the match, Nadal said: "To win against Novak there is only one way: to play your best from the first point to the last. This is one of those magic nights for me."