Ten-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal continued his quest for an 11th title, advancing at Roland Garros with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) win over Maximilian Marterer. With the win, the 900th of his career, Nadal moves into the quarterfinals to face the number 11 seed, Diego Schwartzman, who upset the sixth-seeded Kevin Anderson, 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2.
Nadal, who turned 32-years-old yesterday, became only the fifth player in the past 50 years to record his 900th career win, and sits at an overall record of 900-187 over his career.
“Is not true that I was born on clay,” joked Nadal post-match referring to his success on the clay courts of the French Open. “Everybody thought I practiced on clay all my life, and this is not true. I practiced a lot on hard courts when I was a kid. I did practiced on clay, too, but more on hard courts. My uncle prepared me to be a player, probably not typical player on clay, but then things come the other way. Honestly, I had success on all the surfaces and I worked hard to be the best player possible on all surfaces.”
In five career matchups against Schwartzman, Nadal is a perfect 5-0, their most recent meeting, a straight-sets 6-3, 6-4 win last month at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid.
“Rafa here … I know it's his second home, and it's going to be a really tough match,” said Schwartzman. “I need to recover well, because against him, I need to run a lot and do my best … I need to be ready for the next match and do my best.”
Schwartzman’s fellow countryman, the fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, also advanced to the quarterfinals Monday, with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over American John Isner.
“It wasn't easy match, said del Potro. “John [Isner] is very dangerous. Nobody knows what he could do, playing in a match. And I think the key to the match was only three breaks. I broke three times. I took all my chances, and that was enough to win today.”
Up next for del Potro is the number three seed, Marin Cilic, a 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-3 winner over Fabio Fognini in three hours and 30 minutes.
“Marin is a great player … we know each other a lot,” said del Potro of his quarterfinal opponent. “We have played great matches in the past, many five-set matches together. I know how tough his game is, but I will try to be even better, play my tennis, and then see if I have a chance to win.”
In 12 career meetings, del Potro holds a 10-2 advantage, the most recent meeting a 6-4, 6-4 win by del Potro in the semifinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel in 2017.
“We played many times, and we know each other,” said Cilic. “He won a lot of our matches in these last few years, and we had few tough ones. Juan Martin is having great season playing great tennis. I think in some ways, I'm maybe a little bit quicker on the court, but he is, in some ways, serving a little bit better, hitting off his forehand side bigger and more consistently. It's always a tough matchup between the both of us. I think we always play some tough matches, and I believe this one is going to be for both of us very tough.”