Tennis

Nadal cruises into quarters

Spaniard yet to drop a set at French Open as he continues on record bid

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal surged into the French Open quarter-finals for a record-equalling 11th time yesterday, while Caroline Wozniacki reached the last eight after ousting 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Nadal continued his ruthless form at Roland Garros by dispatching Spanish 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to match Roger Federer's mark of last-eight appearances in Paris.

The 14-time Major winner is yet to drop a set, conceding just six games in the last two rounds as he strives to become the first man to win 10 titles at a single Grand Slam.

"I'm happy because Roberto is a very good player. It's very important for me to be in the quarter-finals one more time," said Nadal, who turned 31 on Saturday.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will also become an 11-time quarter-finalist in Paris if he defeats Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a match played this morning (Singapore time).

Japan's Kei Nishikori fought off a fierce five-set challenge from rising South Korean talent Hyeon Chung to clinch a place in the last 16.

Eighth seed Nishikori led two sets to one but trailed by a double break at 3-0 down in the fourth set when rain halted play on Saturday.

Chung forced the contest into a deciding set as play resumed yesterday, but the world No. 67 double faulted on match point to gift Nishikori a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 0-6, 6-4 victory.

"I think the rain helps me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn't ready," admitted Nishikori, who next plays Fernando Verdasco.

"I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I think I made some adjustments to make little better than yesterday."

Meanwhile, Wozniacki became the first woman through to the quarter-finals as the Danish 11th seed dumped out Kuznetsova 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Wozniacki, who made her only other last-eight appearance at Roland Garros in 2010, will meet Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia for a semi-final place.

"Svetlana's a great player, especially on clay so I knew it wouldn't be easy," said Wozniacki, a two-time US Open runner-up.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova advanced to the fourth round with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Germany's Carina Witthoeft.

In one of the later games yesterday, fourth seed Garbine Muguruza was eliminated by French player Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. - AFP


SELECTED RESULTS

MEN'S SINGLES:

  • Rafael Nadal (x4) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (x17) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
  • Karen Khachanov bt John Isner (x21) 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3)
  • Kei Nishikori (x8) bt Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 0-6, 6-4
  • Pablo Carreno-Busta (x20) bt Milos Raonic (x5) 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 8-6
  • Gael Monfils (x15) bt Richard Gasquet (x24) 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 4-3 - retired

WOMEN'S SINGLES:

  • Caroline Wozniacki (x11) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (x8) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
  • Elina Svitolina (x5) bt Magda Linette 6-4, 7-5
  • Petra Martic bt Anastasija Sevastova (x17) 6-1, 6-1
  • Karolina Pliskova (x2) bt Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-1
  • Jelena Ostapenko bt Samantha Stosur (x23) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
  • Kristina Mladenovic (x13) bt Garbine Muguruza (x4) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
French Open