Rafael Nadal defeated Italy’s Jannik Sinner in straight sets.© AFP
Rafael Nadal reached the French Open quarter-finals for the 15th time on Monday with a straight sets win over Italy’s Jannik Sinner to stay on course for a 14th Roland Garros title and record-setting 21st Grand Slam. Third seed Nadal downed 19-year-old Sinner 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 and goes on to face 10th-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina who he defeated in the semi-finals last year. Nadal has now won 104 matches at Roland Garros against just two defeats since his 2005 debut while Monday’s victory extended his run of consecutive sets won in Paris to 35.
The 35-year-old Spanish world number three is seeded to face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
World number one Djokovic defeated Sinner’s compatriot Lorenzo Musetti who had to retire in the fifth set having stunned the Serb by taking the first two.
“I started well but was a little too defensive. I gave him the chance to come inside the court and play his best shots. That was a mistake,” said Nadal.
“I broke back at 5-4 in the first set and the match changed after that. I played at a great level,” he said.
Nadal had beaten Sinner in the quarter-finals in Paris in 2020 as well as at this year’s Italian Open.
Sinner, the 18th seed, led 5-3 in the first set but that was as good as it got as Nadal raced away with 16 of the last 19 games.
He hit 31 winners with the Italian claiming just 10 points in the third set.
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