afael Nadal is another step closer to his 11th French Open title after a straight-sets win over Maximilian Marterer.
The world No1, overwhelming favourite to win the Roland Garros crown yet again, faced his toughest test so far but still came through unscathed to reach the quarter-finals.
If there were any concerns that 22-year-old German Marterer would be overawed facing the king of clay on the court he has ruled for the best part of 13 years, they were quickly dispelled when he broke Nadal’s serve in the opening game.
Nadal also faced break points at 2-2, but he fended them off and clinched his own second break to take the set.
A break in the first game of the second put Nadal on his way to a two-set lead as Marterer appeared to wilt.
Yet Marterer is clearly a fighter and he broke for 3-1 in the third, only for Nadal to hit straight back.
Nadal still needed a tie-break to see off a stubborn opponent – winning his 37th consecutive set at the tournament – for a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7/4) victory.
He will face Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, in the last eight after the Argentinian pulled off a stunning fightback against Kevin Anderson.
Sixth seed Anderson, of South Africa, dropped just three games as he took the first two sets but Schwartzman somehow recovered for an unlikely 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7/0) 6-2 triumph. PA