Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now

French Open: Nadal into quarters; Halep tops US hope Stephens

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  
Rafael Nadal improves to 63-1 on the red clay of Roland Garros. (Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal improves to 63-1 on the red clay of Roland Garros. (Getty Images)

PARIS -- For the first time in his career, Rafael Nadal will make a fifth straight appearance in the French Open quarterfinals.

Nadal won a record 32nd straight match at Roland Garros on Monday, beating Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 to improve on his own record by one.

Nadal is an eight-time French Open champion with a 63-1 record on the red clay in Paris. His only loss came in the fourth round in 2009, when he was a four-time defending champion for the first time.

Another upset never seemed possible this time, despite complaints of pain in his back that slowed his serves in the previous round.

Playing on Court Philippe Chatrier, Nadal's favorite court in the world, the top-seeded Spaniard controlled the match from the start. He then won 17 straight points to open the second set, taking a 4-0 lead before finally sending a backhand wide to make it 15-15 in the fifth game.

Later in that set, Lajovic held three break points at 0-40, but Nadal saved them all and held. It wasn't until late in the third, with the match far out of reach, that Lajovic did manage a break - the only game he won in the final set.

''I was able to control the points from the baseline, so that's always important for me,'' Nadal said. ''I'm in [the] quarterfinals.''

Nadal has won 13 major titles, and is the only man to win eight at one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. With another championship at Roland Garros this year, he will become the first man to win five straight French Open titles.

And he's looking rather unbeatable.

The Spaniard, who turns 28 on Tuesday, has lost only 23 games through four rounds, only four more than he lost in reaching the quarterfinals in 2012.

Nadal will next face fifth-seeded David Ferrer, the man he beat in last year's final. Ferrer defeated 19th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1.

Also Monday, Andy Murray will be on court a day after he completed a five-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber. He will play Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

In the women's tournament, fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania beat Sloane Stephens of the United States 6-4, 6-3, and 10th-seeded Sara Errani of Italy defeated sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Earlier, Andrea Petkovic overcame an inconsistent serve and unseeded Kiki Bertens to reach the quarterfinals with a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory.

The 28th-seeded German was broken three times in the first set, once in the second and three more times in the third. But she was able to earn seven breaks of her own - all in the final two sets - to advance to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the second time in her career.

''I was really relieved that I picked myself up after I was up 4-2 in the third and I started playing a little passively,'' Petkovic said. ''I wasn't going for my shots anymore. I was sort of hoping that she's going to miss. She's too good for that.

''After going down 5-4 in the third, I just sort of told myself, `OK, listen, you have to play aggressive. You have to go for your shots, and nobody's going to give you the quarterfinals just because you're nice, so go gain it.''

Bertens, a Dutchwoman ranked No. 148, had been bidding to become the lowest ranked woman to reach the French Open quarterfinals since the field at the clay-court major was expanded to 128 players in 1983.

After splitting the first two sets, the players exchanged breaks quickly and often in the third. Each of the first five games went to the returning player, with Petkovic finally holding to lead 4-2.

Both players were broken once more, but Petkovic was able to hold in the last game with a forehand winner on match point.

''It was super tough, because I didn't know her at all. I just stalked her on YouTube yesterday the whole day, and I was already impressed yesterday,'' Petkovic said. ''I think she's going to be a force on the WTA when she gets fitter and recovers from her injuries that she's had.''

Petkovic reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2011. She reached the same stage at the Australian Open and U.S. Open that year for her best Grand Slam performances.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
  •  
 

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 

Latest

Most Popular

CBSSports.com Shop

Reebok Eli Manning New York Giants Premier Tackle Twill Jersey - Red Alternate

NFL Jerseys
Get your Favorite Team or Player Shop now