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Nadal equals quarter-final record at French Open

Tennis

PARIS – Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal surged into the French Open quarter-finals for a record-equalling 11th time on Sunday, 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.

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Rafael Nadal serves against Roberto Bautista Agut at Roland Garros on Sunday. Photo: Petr David Josek, AP

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 later on Sunday.

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 on Sunday, but the World No 67 double faulted on match point to gift Nishikori a 7-5 6-4 6-7(4) 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. “I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I think I made some adjustments to make little better than yesterday.”

Karen Khachanov will play Andy Murray in the fourth round after the giant Russian beat American 21st seed John Isner 7-6(1) 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(3).

Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Roberto Bautista Agut. Photo: Petr David Josek, AP


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 either Australia’s Samantha Stosur or 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 round four with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Germany’s Carina Witthoeft, while Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina downed Magda Linette of Poland 6-4 7-5.

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