Nadal yet to lose a set, reaches final eight
Spaniard trying to equal Federer's Grand Slam record
Rafael Nadal blew away American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 to romp into the French Open quarter-finals on Sunday and close in on a record-extending 13th title at Roland Garros.
Nadal has lost no sets and only 23 games in reaching his 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final and is yet to face a seed.
Rising Italian Jannick Sinner, the first player since Nadal in 2005 to reach the quarter-finals on his debut, is next.
“I'm in the quarter-finals without losing a set and having very positive scores. So I can't complain at all,” the 34-year-old Nadal, who needs one more Grand Slam title to equal Roger Federer's 20, said.
The 20-year-old Korda, son of 1992 runner-up Petr, had enjoyed a dream run in his first Tour-level event on clay and was up against his idol.
If he was to stand any chance of making it at all competitive he needed a good start, and he will rue the fact he lost the first two games despite having game points.
The first two sets went by in little more than an hour but even Nadal can lose focus occasionally and he dropped serve at the start of the third set to trail 2-0.
Normal service was soon restored, though, as Nadal rattled off the next six games.
“Qualifying for my first Grand Slam, winning my first tour-level match, and then playing Rafa on Chatrier in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, it's a big blessing,” Korda said.
“I learned a lot. The score wasn't the closest, but I mean, every game was pretty close.”
Meanwhile, Sinner never lost his cool as he scored a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, victory over Alexander Zverev on Sunday. The 19-year-old is the youngest male player since Novak Djokovic in 2006 to feature in the last eight at Roland Garros.
The South Tyrolean, winner of last year's NextGen ATP Finals, dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but he continued to take the ball very early, making his 23-year-old opponent look old at times.
Zverev said he had been ill since his third-round win against Italian Marco Cecchinato on Friday.
“I am completely sick after the match with Cecchinato in the night. Yeah, what can I say? I'm completely sick,” he said.
Sinner got off to a strong start, breaking for 3-1 and saving three break points in the following game, allowing his opponent to stay afloat courtesy of his unforced errors.
A coughing Zverev had the doctor and the trainer on court, showing them his throat and sending them away.
Iga Swiatek finds practice boring but the Pole's best quality is that she is always ready when she steps onto the court for a contest, her coach Piotr Sierzputowski said on Sunday after the 19-year-old reached the French Open quarter-finals. Swiatek stunned top seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 in a one-sided contest to make the last eight of a major for the first time.
Sierzputowski has been working with his young compatriot since 2016, when she was a junior player, and feels Swiatek likes to focus more on the basics than making technical adjustments in her game.
“I think she's ready for everything on the court,” he said.
“I have a lot of things to work with her on the technical side and tactical side. We have a lot of space to improve. But overall it doesn't even matter. When she comes to the court she puts the ball right where she wants.
“She's a beast of the competition I would call her.”
Swiatek only managed to win a single game in her 45-minute loss to Halep at the same stage at Roland Garros last year, but she completed a remarkable turnaround this time.
On Saturday, Montreal's Leylah Annie Fernandez bowed out with a 7-5, 6-3 loss to No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova.
Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko lost in the third round of women's doubles, falling to Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Marta Kostyuk 6-4, 6-4.