Rafael Nadal keeps up dominant form to make quarter-finals

Defending champion Novak Djokovic sets up last eight clash with Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal  serves during his fourth-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut  at the  French Open at Roland Garros  in Paris. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal serves during his fourth-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

Rafael Nadal produced another dominant display to race into his 11th French Open quarter-final.

The title favourite maintained his record of never having lost to another Spaniard at Roland Garros with a 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory over 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Nadal, who lost just one game in beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in round three, has dropped only 20 games in the tournament so far.

That is one more than his best-ever record over four rounds, set here in 2012.

Nadal, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Saturday, has looked supremely confident with his forehand this tournament and it was the same again.

He hit 31 winners in the match compared to just 12 for Bautista Agut and clinched victory after an hour and 50 minutes.

Later defending champion Novak Djokovic eased into thquarter-finals after outclassing claycourt specialist Alberto Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5) 6-1 6-3.

He will next face in-form Austrian, Dominic Thiem, the sixth seed, in a rematch of last year’s semi-final.

The second seed, with new coach Andre Agassi absent from the stands, was too good for the Spanish 19th seed.

The Serb, bidding to become the first man in the professional era to win each of the four grand slams twice, found some resistance in the first set with the third game lasting 13 minutes before Djokovic won it.

“After that (first set) I started playing with fewer errors and that was good. That gave me a lot of confidence,“ Djokovic said in a courtside interview.

He finished Ramos-Vinolas off with a crosscourt forehand winner on his first match point.

“Now it is the quarters in a grand slam and facing Dominic is not easy,“ the world number two said.

“He is a one of the best players in the world, especially on this surface. Now I have a day to rest and get ready.”

Meanwhile eighth seed Kei Nishikori looked in trouble against young Korean Chung Hyeon when rain stopped play on Saturday, but recovered to win in five sets.

Nishikori had been two sets up but Chung fought back and was 3-0 up in the fourth when play was called off.

The 21-year-old went on to win that set to love but Nishikori hit back to triumph 7-5 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 0-6 6-4 and next meets Fernando Verdasco.

He said: “I think the rain helps me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn’t ready.

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

Russian Karen Khachanov became the youngest man to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros since Marin Cilic in 2009 by defeating John Isner.

The 21-year-old won the opening set on Saturday and defused Isner’s big serve to win 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/3).

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