Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Mladenovic packs off Muguruza; Nadal through

Mladenovic packs off Muguruza; Nadal through

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal kept his hopes alive for a tenth title at Roland Garros as he brushed aside fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to march into the quarterfinals.

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 with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 0-6, 6-4 victory.

Defending champions Djokovic, on the other hand, made it to the last-eight after sweeping aside Spain's Albert Ramos Viñolas 7-6 (7-9), 6-1, 6-3.

Meanwhile, reigning women's champion Garbine Muguruza had to leave her press conference in tears yesterday following a feisty encounter with French No 1 Kiki Mladenovic. However, Djokovic held his nerve and broke twice during the second set to win it 6-3 and level the match.

"I'm sure he's going to be as motivated as ever, so I expect him to come out and really play his best".

In a re-match of the 2016 French Open semi-final, Novak Djokovic will be looking to continue his championship defence against an in-form Dominic Thiem.

Nadal now has a 76-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros with his only defeats coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.

There will be a first-time Grand Slam champion at the French Open.

Thiem has admitted that Djokovic is simply a bad matchup for him. given the time he needs to produce his groundstrokes, and even this lesser version of Djokovic is capable of capitalizing on the windows players such as Thiem offer with poorly-timed patches of errors. She beat 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

With the probability of a Nadal-Djokovic semi-final extremely high, let's take a look at five of their most exciting matches in the past.

Big-serving American John Isner, seeded 21, was knocked out in his third-round match by Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation, who won 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3).

Earlier, women's defending champion, Garbine Muguruza, and seven-time Grand Slam victor Venus Williams crash out of the French Open, meaning a new major singles champion will be crowned at Roland Garros.

French 15th seed Gael Monfils reached the fourth round for a seventh time when compatriot Richard Gasquet withdrew from their rain-delayed match with a thigh injury.

Fifth seed Svitolina downed Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 7-5.

World No. 290 and qualifier Petra Martic reached the last 16 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Latvian 17th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

Nadal has given himself a good opportunity to win a historic 10th title at Roland Garros.

The eighth-seeded Nishikori was leading 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-3 when rain stopped play as the 21-year-old Chung rallied.

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

Like this: