Rafael Nadal French Open quarter-finals at his own pace

Rafael Nadal  French Open quarter-finals at his own pace

Rafael Nadal French Open quarter-finals at his own pace

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

Breaking news on Serena Williams

Ben Rothenberg


Serena says it’s a right pectoral injury forcing her out. Can’t serve.

This is the 16th walkover of Serena’s career, but the first time she has ever withdrawn from singles in the middle of a Grand Slam.

Christopher Clarey


Serena: “It’s very difficult because I love playing Maria. It’s a match I always get up for. Her game matches so well against mine and it is difficult because like I keep saying, I’ve given up so much to be here.”

 “Unfortunately I’ve been having some issues with my pec muscle. Right now I can’t actually serve so it’s actually hard to play when I can’t physically serve.

“I’m beyond disappointed. I gave up so much from time with my daughter and time with my family all for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in this situation.”

Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 Marterer – Tiebreak 7-4

Nadal wins his fourth successive point to hold his second service point with spin and kicking ground shots that Marterer fatally lets bounce. Marterer holds the first of his next two service points with a flashy forehand but Nadal takes the next when the German’s forehand in a 16-stroke rally is an inch beyond the baseline. But Marterer defends the first match point when Nadal flays his forehand too long. 6-4.Game, set and match Nadal. Marterer spoons his forehand half an inch beyond Nadal’s baseline.

Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 Marterer – Tiebreak 4-2

Marterer wins his opening service point with a brilliant backhand winner then Nadal sets up an overhead winner with a sadistic kick serve. 1-1. Nadal to serve again and he is broken when Marterer belts his drop shot across court and just in. 1-2 Marterer.  Nadal breaks back straight away with a drop shot up the line and takes the second break by manoeuvering Marterer deep then smashing the chipped return at the net. 3-2 Nadal and Nadal to serve. He holds his first service point.

Nadal* 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 Marterer (*next server)

Channelling his skill and rage, Nadal holds to 15 including a withering ace up the centre-line followed by a double fault. He takes the final pint with a serve to Marterer’s backhand that his opponent balloons out. Into the tiebreak.

Nadal* 6-3, 6-2, 5-6 Marterer (*next server)

Nadal spoofs his way to 30-all thanks to Marterer’s errors but the German left-hander then cuffs an extraordinary running crosscourt forehand winner that gets the crowd to its feet. He wraps up the hold  against a clearly exasperated Nadal with a fine combination of defence and aggression at the optimum moment, whipping a forehand winner.

Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 5-5 Marterer* (*next server)

Hearing the word that Serena Williams has pulled out of her match against Maria Sharapova with an arm injury, not altogether uncoincidentally protecting her long unbeaten run.

Nadal, meanwhile, holds to 15 though he is trying the umpire’s patience with his endless dithering.

Nadal* 6-3, 6-2, 4-5 Marterer (*next server)

The right eyebrow of Nadal shoots up Spock-fashion when Marterer beats him with a superb volley but he fights back to 30-40, only to lose the decisive point with an intended backhand-out-to-in drive that doesn’t bend back sufficiently to touch the whitewash. Marterer takes a 4-5 lead and the commentators ponder whether Nadal’s long run of winning successive sets could be coming to an end.

Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 4-4 Marterer* (*next server)

He is taking an age, Nadal, with all his tics and foibles but when he does serve he moves slowly to 40-love, muttering and chucking a ball away after being penalised for taking too long and being penalised a first serve. Marterer  loses the game to love by netting a sliding volley at the net.

Nadal* 6-3, 6-2, 3-4 Marterer (*next server)

Deuce is a relief for Marterer when he saves a break point by doggedly matching Nadal defensive stroke for defensive stroke and then he plays an exquisite disguised drop shot to move to advantage and holds by moving Nadal deep then creaming a winner too close to his opponent’s


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