Rafael Nadal motors into French Open quarters, Muguruza exits
Paris — Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal surged into the French Open quarterfinals for a record-equalling 11th time on Sunday, while reigning women’s title-holder Garbine Muguruza crashed out in the last 16.
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 the French Open.
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 quarterfinals one more time," said Nadal, who turned 31 on Saturday.
The fourth seed will meet compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, through to his first Slam quarterfinal, for a spot in the last four after the latter stunned Canada’s Milos Raonic.
Carreno Busta, seeded 20th, needed seven match points to clinch a thrilling 4-6 7-6 (7/2)
6-7 (6/8) 6-4 8-6 win over the fifth-seeded Raonic in four hours and 17 minutes.
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 No67 double-faulted on match point to gift Nishikori a 7-5 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 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," said Nishikori.
It was the first third-round meeting between two Asian players at Roland Garros, with 2014 US Open finalist Nishikori going on to play Fernando Verdasco for a quarterfinal place.
Karen Khachanov will play Andy Murray in the fourth round after the giant Russian beat American 21st seed John Isner 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/3).
Kristina Mladenovic ensured France will have women in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994 after beating fourth seed Muguruza 6-1 3-6 6-3.
The French 13th seed is through to just her second Grand Slam quarterfinal — after the 2015 US Open — and will face Venus Williams or Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky for a spot in the last four.
Danish 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki knocked off 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1 4-6 6-2 to reach the last eight for just the second time.
"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.