Paris: Thirteen-time French Open champion Spaniard Rafael Nadal kept 19-year-old Jannik Sinner’s title aspirations in check by defeating the world No.19 Italian 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 to book a spot in the quarter-finals in Paris on Monday.
Nadal, the four-time defending champion, will now clash with 10th seed Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, who hit sublime form as he overcame Germany’s world No.42 Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(9), 6-4, 7-5 to make the last-eight grade here for the third time.
Nadal has now reached 15 quarterfinals at Roland Garros, and is tied alongside world No.1 Novak Djokovic. The win also means Nadal and Djokovic are on a collision course in the semi-final.
Earlier in the day, Djokovic came back from a two-set deficit to overcome Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti who retired in the fifth set and the Serbian moved into the quarterfinals.
Djokovic prevailed 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 in three hours and 27 minutes as 19-year-old Musetti retired. For the 2016 French Open champion, it was the fifth time in his career to come back from two-sets-to-love down to win.
Djokovic will take on Italy’s ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, who got a walkover after Swiss ace Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Sunday, for a place in the semi-finals.
Djokovic, who is in the quarterfinals for a record 12th consecutive year, came through his first big test at this year’s French Open, winning 13 games in a row from a 3-1 advantage in the third set to a 4-0 lead in the decider against Musetti.
Djokovic, the 18-time Grand Slam champion, will go into the quarterfinal contest against Berrettini full of confidence as he had beaten the Italian 6-2, 6-1 in their only previous meeting, at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.
In a match that had plenty of ups and downs, Nadal kept his cool to overcome big-serving Sinner in two hours and 20 minutes and improve his head-to-head against the teenager to 3-0.