Nadal marches into quarter-finals
Nadal, who turned 31 on Saturday, has reached the last eight having lost only 20 games in 12 sets.
After another productive day the office, Nadal said: “Every day is a different story. I am happy with what’s happened in these first four matches. I played at a very high level and that is good for my confidence. I will need to be at my very best if I am to have any chance in the next round.”
Pablo Carreno Busta picked the perfect time to secure his first top 10 win. The Spaniard, who will play Nadal next, converted his sixth match-point to edge a thrilling contest with Milos Raonic 4-6 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-4 8-6
Novak Djokovic maintained his interest in the competition with a 7-6(5) 6-1 6-3 win Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The No.2 seed improved as the match progressed, and he finished with a barrage of winners.
The defending champion, now into a record-equalling 11th French Open quarter-final, said: “The first set lasted about half the total of the match, it was really tough. Obviously for both of us it was important to win that one. Afterwards I started to play with more confidence and make fewer errors.”
Djokovic’s last eight opponent will be Dominic Thiem. The Austrian maintained his perfect record with a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 6-1 success over Horacio Zeballos.
“I think it was a great match. It was great fun, and unbelievable weather,” said Thiem. “I think it was a great first four matches for me. I had a great run to the semis last year and I’m just enjoying it a lot.”
There were also three third round matches that were completed.
The all-Asian tie between Kei Nishikori and Hyeon Chung did not disappoint. The No.8 seed defeated his younger rival 7-5 6-4 6-7(4) 0-6 6-4 to set up a meeting with Fernando Verdasco.
It appeared that Nishikori was on course to record a routine victory however he began to struggle with a back issue and his unforced-error count rocketed as a consequence. The lengthy stoppage in play gave the Japanese an opportunity to receive treatment, and he re-established control on the resumption.
“I think the rain helped me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn’t ready,” said Nishikori. “I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I made some adjustments. I think I’m feeling pretty good tennis-wise. I will try to be more positive and hopefully I can play another good one tomorrow.”
Karen Khachanov is the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the French Open since Marin Cilic in 2009. The 21-year-old successfully defused John Isner’s booming serve and secured a 7-6(1) 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(3) win.
The Russian, who did not drop serve once in the three hour contest, will get an opportunity to play world No.1 Andy Murray on Monday. After his landmark win, he said: “I think it’s in general the best result for me in a Grand Slam, so it’s of course one of the biggest victories for me.”
Gael Monfils was the last player to qualify for the round of 16. He won via retirement as his injury-hit Davis Cup teammate, Richard Gasquet, quit midway through the third set. The local boy will now play the former champion, Stan Wawrinka.
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