French Open: Nadal, Federer Edge Out Rivals

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer made short work of Argentinian Leonardo Mayer to become the oldest man in 28 years to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open on Sunday, while Rafael Nadal claimed his 90th Roland Garros win.

The 37-year-old Federer, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, claimed a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over world number 68 Mayer in a sweltering 32 degrees and will face Stan Wawrinka who knocked out Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 after five hours and nine minute battle on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Tsitsipas called on organisers to introduce Hawk-Eye at Roland Garros after a tight line call on match point saw Stan Wawrinka secure victory.

The 20-year-old Tsitsipas appeared to initially contest the call on court, before accepting that Wawrinka’s astonishing backhand from deep behind the baseline had caught the outside of the line.

“Yes, it was in. And, yes, we should (have Hawk-Eye). It’s just more fair,” said the Greek. The sixth seed, who reached the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year, cut a devastated figure in his press conference, struggling to hold back the tears.

“Worse thing in tennis. It’s the worst feeling ever. Especially when you lose. You don’t want to be in my place,” Tsitsipas said.

“I feel exhausted. I don’t know. Never experienced something like this in my life.

“I feel very disappointed at the end. (It’s been a) long time since I cried after a match, so emotionally (it) wasn’t easy to handle. I will try to learn from it as much as I can.”

Federer, the 2009 champion in Paris, became the oldest man to make the quarterfinals of a Slam since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

“It’s fabulous that I can spend this time in Paris,” said Federer who last played the tournament in 2015 when he lost in the quarterfinals to Wawrinka.

“I was prepared for the worst scenario, losing in the first round in three sets. But I am super happy with my performance.

Despite leading Wawrinka 23-3 in career head-to-head meetings, Federer said he still remembers his quarterfinal loss to his friend in Paris four years ago.

“I have a bad memory of it. Stan beat me in three sets with his terrible shorts!”

Reigning champion Nadal continued his bid for a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title by beating Grand Slam debutant Juan Ignacio Londero 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

World number 78 Londero had his moments, breaking Nadal when 4-1 down in the third set, but the 17-time major champion always looked too strong, powering 40 winners past the Argentinian.

Nadal will face either Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori or home favourite Benoit Paire in his 38th Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“I am very happy. Juan is a very good player so I congratulate him and his team,” said Nadal.

The 32-year-old Spaniard has only been defeated twice in his French Open career and has a 10-2 record over Nishikori while he has yet to lose to Paire in four matches.

In a wide-open women’s draw after the shock exits of top seed Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Saturday, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova reached her maiden major quarter-final by thrashing Anastasija Sevastova.

The unseeded Czech, ranked 38th, overcame a tame effort from Latvian 12th seed Sevastova, winning 6-2, 6-0 in only 59 minutes.

She will face 31st seed Petra Martic for a semifinal spot, after the Croatian followed up her third-round upset of second seed Karolina Pliskova by coming from a set down to beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.

The 28-year-old booked her place in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

British No. 1 Johanna Konta continued her comfortable progress through the draw by seeing off Croatia’s Donna Vekic to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon in 2017.

The 26th seed overpowered Vekic 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last-eight tie with either last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens.

Stephens downed former champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-3 to book her place in the quarterfinals.

The 2017 US Open winner is now the clear favourite in her half of the draw after the exits of world number two Karolina Pliskova and one of the pre-tournament favourites Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

Stephens shook off a wobbly start by breaking back for 3-3 and she broke 2016 champion Muguruza’s serve again to move 5-3 up.

The American’s serve was still far from perfect, however, and she surrendered the extra break right away.

She bagged the the opening set, however, on her opponent’s equally inconsistent serve.

Another break in the second set allowed her to serve for the match and she wrapped it up on her fifth match point when 19th seed Muguruza returned a second serve poorly.


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