Rafael Nadal defeated American qualifier Sebastian Korda, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals for the 14th time on Sunday, October 4, staying comfortably on course for a 13th French Open title and record-equaling 20th Grand Slam crown.
Second seed Nadal racked up his 97th win at the tournament against just two defeats since his title-winning debut in 2005.
The 12-time champion goes on to face Italian teenager Jannik Sinner, who stunned 6th seed Alexander Zverev to become the youngest men’s Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Novak Djokovic in Paris in 2006.
Sinner, aged 19 years and 56 days, won 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to also become the first player to reach the last 8 on his Roland Garros debut since Nadal lifted the trophy in 2005.
“Today was very tough knowing that it’s going to be a long match but in the end I’m very happy about my performance,” said the 75th-ranked Sinner.
Last year’s NextGen champion dropped his first set of the tournament against US Open runner-up Zverev but demonstrated his resolve to close out the win in 4.
“If you lose one set you just try and keep going. Even in the third set I knew I was still playing well,” said Sinner, the second youngest player to begin this year’s main draw.
“I tried to be focused in the first service game in the fourth set, which I did, and then it went quite well.”
Nadal, who will play in what will be his 42nd career appearance in the last 8 of a Grand Slam, easily disposed of Korda, the world No. 213 and son of 1998 Australian Open champion and 1992 Roland Garros runner-up Petr Korda.
The young Korda never really recovered from slipping quickly to a 5-0 deficit in the first set.
The 20-year-old, who was so in awe of Nadal when he was growing up that he named his cat after the Spaniard, had the consolation of breaking serve once in the third set.
However, it was a brief respite as 34-year-old Nadal swept into the last 8 without dropping a set and with his opponent left to rue 48 unforced errors on a chilly, blustery day in the French capital.
“It was a good performance and I am happy with that,” said Nadal. “But Sebastian will be a great player in the future, it’s impressive to see him hit the ball so well.” – Rappler.com
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