Novak Djokovic remains on a collision course with Rafael Nadal at the French Open after easing past Karen Khachanov and into the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

The world number one missed out on grand slam glory at the US Open after being defaulted for inadvertently hitting a ball at a line judge in his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta.

A potential reunion with Carreno Busta, who faces Daniel Altmaier in the fourth round, beckons in the last eight for Djokovic after a straight-sets win in a high-quality contest with Khachanov.

Djokovic prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 23 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier and has yet to drop a set at the tournament this year.

Khachanov's only victory over Djokovic in their previous four meetings came in Paris in the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in 2018.

There was rarely any sign of such an upset this time around, though Khachanov did display impressive resilience to immediately break back at 5-3 down with Djokovic serving for the first set.

He wasted the chance to at least push the opener to a tie-break, however, a double fault handing the set to Djokovic, who was in full control thereafter.

Khachanov did offer admirable resistance, the 15th seed more than playing his part in an entertaining encounter as he managed to trouble the Djokovic serve in each set.

However, a break back after dropping the opening game of the third proved his last act of defiance as Djokovic won four of the last five games to move into his 14th Roland Garros quarter-final, tying defending champion Nadal for the most in the history of the tournament.

Data slam: Djokovic's net mastery

Djokovic relied heavily on the drop shot throughout as he attempted to work Khachanov around the court. It was a tactic that paid dividends, with its success reflected by Djokovic winning 66 per cent of his net points. He also hit 44 winners to Khachanov's 31.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic - 44/28
Khachanov - 31/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic - 2/1
Khachanov - 5/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic - 6/15
Khachanov - 2/9

Elina Svitolina's quest for a first grand slam title was significantly boosted on Sunday as she reached the French Open quarter-finals and saw Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens both bow out.

Svitolina was the only top-five seed in action not to lose as she defeated home hope Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-3 to book a last-eight date with Nadia Podoroska, who was a 2-6 6-2 6-3 victor against Barbora Krejcikova.

In Svitolina's half of the draw, top seed Halep was surprisingly beaten 6-1 6-2 by Iga Swiatek and Bertens – ranked fifth at Roland Garros – suffered a 6-4 6-4 loss to Martina Trevisan. 

There are now just three of the top 10 seeds in the women's draw still alive in Paris, and third seed Svitolina is the highest-ranked player left.

 

SVITOLINA NOT FOCUSING ON EXODUS OF SEEDS

Svitolina will be hoping it is third time lucky in the French Open quarter-finals after reaching this stage again, as she previously did in 2015 and 2017.

The pressure may increase on the Ukrainian given how many seeds have already been eliminated, but the 26-year-old is trying not to pay attention to the rest of the draw.

"Of course, I'm the highest seed left, but no one is going to give me the trophy just because I'm the highest left," Svitolina said.

"So, I have to work for it. I try to not look so much ahead."

HALEP SEEKS COMFORT IN CHOCOLATE 

Halep had not dropped a set prior to her fourth-round encounter with Swiatek, but she was stunned by the Pole, who lost only three games in reaching her first grand slam quarter-final.

However, the Romanian – the French Open champion in 2018 – was keen to take solace in a sweet treat afterwards.

"I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match," Halep said.

"Of course, it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."

 

BERTENS: OUTSIDERS HAVING THEIR MOMENT

There was an even bigger shock on Suzanne-Lenglen as Bertens suffered a straight-sets defeat to world number 159 Trevisan.

Bertens was asked to explain the number of surprising results across both the men's and women's draws, and the Dutchwoman suggested the lack of preparation for the leading players was a factor.

"No one really has played a lot," she claimed.

"I think then you can see that everything can happen in a tournament like this."

Jannik Sinner became the first French Open debutant to reach the quarter-finals since Rafael Nadal in 2005, as the highly rated Italian beat Alexander Zverev to set up a clash with the 'King of Clay'.

Nadal had earlier made light work of Sebastian Korda to book his passage to the next round, dropping just four games in three sets as he comfortably dispatched his 20-year-old opponent.

The Spaniard is going for a 13th title in the French capital and, while he was clearly a cut above, Korda's 48 unforced errors certainly aided his cause on Sunday.

But the day belonged to 19-year-old Sinner, who looks destined for big things.

SINNER THROUGH BUT ZVEREV IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Sinner was in electrifying form on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, beating Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Sinner converted five of his six chances to break Zverev, who appeared curiously underwhelming on the day. He hit just 20 winners, a little over half of Sinner's 39, highlighting the gulf in decisiveness.

In claiming victory, Sinner became the youngest male player to reach a grand slam quarter-final in 14 years and he felt that, having trained with Zverev on occasion in the past, he was well prepared.

"It has been tough. We have practiced sometimes in Monaco, so we know [each other] quite well," said Sinner on court. "Today was very tough, knowing that it was going to be a long match. At the end, I am very happy about my performance."

But Zverev controversially revealed after the match that he had been suffering with a fever and that he should not have even taken to the court.

The German claimed he had tested negative for coronavirus, though he did not specify when his most recent test was.

NADAL AWARE OF HIS EXCELLENCE

As he prepares for his quarter-final with Sinner, Nadal is well aware he is in imperious form.

Korda offered little resistance on the whole as the second seed ran out a 6-1 6-1 6-2 victor against a player who idolised him growing up – so much so he even named his cat 'Rafa'.

And although the American got his claws into Nadal with a couple of early break chances, the favourite was soon purring and took just 40 minutes to take a one-set lead.

Nadal only struck nine winners over the first two sets, but Korda's error count continued to rise and give his opponent a boost.

The 19-time major champion was left feeling pretty good about his form afterwards as well.

"Well, I'm in the quarter-finals without losing a set and having very positive scores. So, I can't complain at all. So, I'm happy for that," he said.

He then went on to consider the threat posed by Sinner, adding: "He's young, he's improving every single week. So, he's playing better and better and better. It will be a big challenge. It will be the first time playing against him on the tour. I practiced with him a couple of times, he has an amazing potential, he moves the hand very quick and he's able to produce amazing shots."

THIEM FIGHTS BACK

Third seed Dominic Thiem had to dig deep to see off Hugo Gaston in five after throwing away a two-set lead against the world number 239.

Eventually Thiem progressed 6-4 6-4 5-7 3-6 6-3, emerging victorious after just over three and a half hours on court.

French wildcard Gaston received a standing ovation from his home support on Court Philippe-Chatrier, with the fans enamoured with the underdog as he pushed one last year's runner-up all the way.

Thiem acknowledged that he was fortunate to come through the test.

"I think I stayed pretty calm even though it was a tough match mentally, physically. I just read before that he played 58 drop shots. I think only three or four of them went into the net, so I made more than 50 full sprints to the net. So that was really, really tough," he said.

Up next for Thiem is a quarter-final with Diego Schwartzman, one of his closest allies on the ATP Tour, with the Argentinian seeing off Lorenzo Sonego with relative ease 6-1 6-3 6-4.

"I'm happy of course to face one of my best friends from the tour in the quarter-finals," Thiem added.

"From my perspective, it's all about recovery. I'm not running on a full tank anymore. That's for sure.  So, I try to recover as good as I can. If I'm able to do that, if somehow I don't make it until Tuesday, I think he's going to be the heavy favourite."

Alexander Zverev has revealed he was suffering with a fever during his French Open defeat to Jannik Sinner. 

Highly rated Italian Sinner became the first player since Rafael Nadal in 2005 to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros on his tournament debut, beating Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 to progress. 

But Zverev's post-match comments have taken the spotlight from Sinner, as the German claimed he was playing despite showing symptoms of a respiratory illness. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players are expected to undergo regular coronavirus tests, socially distance where possible and wear a mask when not on court. 

Competition rules state a player will be removed from the draw if they come into contact with a player or entourage member who has tested positive for the virus. 

Zverev said any tests he has done have been negative, likewise those in his circle, though he accepts he should not have played on Sunday. 

He said: "I am completely sick after the match with [Marco] Cecchinato in the night. Yeah, what can I say? I'm completely sick. 

"I can't really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know, as well. Yeah, I'm not in the best physical state, I would say. 

"I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today." 

Zverev added: "To be honest, I warmed up today. I shouldn't have played. But I was hoping maybe for a three-set win or something like that, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn't going to be easy." 

But when asked in the English section of the news conference about when he last had a coronavirus test, Zverev took issue with the journalist asking the question. 

"I'm not answering your questions. There is no chance I'm answering your questions from what you have been writing about me over the past months. Absolutely no chance," he said.

Alexander Zverev has revealed he was suffering with a fever during his French Open defeat to Jannik Sinner. 

Highly rated Italian Sinner became the first player since Rafael Nadal in 2005 to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros on his tournament debut, beating Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 to progress. 

But Zverev's post-match comments have taken the spotlight from Sinner, as the German claimed he was playing despite showing symptoms of a respiratory illness. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players are expected to undergo regular coronavirus tests, socially distance where possible and wear a mask when not on court. 

Competition rules state a player will be removed from the draw if they come into contact with a player or entourage member who has tested positive for the virus. 

Zverev said any tests he has done have been negative, likewise those in his circle, though he accepts he should not have played on Sunday. 

He said: "I am completely sick after the match with [Marco] Cecchinato in the night. Yeah, what can I say? I'm completely sick. 

"I can't really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know, as well. Yeah, I'm not in the best physical state, I would say. 

"I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today." 

Zverev added: "To be honest, I warmed up today. I shouldn't have played. But I was hoping maybe for a three-set win or something like that, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn't going to be easy." 

But when asked in the English section of the news conference about when he last had a coronavirus test, Zverev took issue with the journalist asking the question. 

"I'm not answering your questions. There is no chance I'm answering your questions from what you have been writing about me over the past months. Absolutely no chance," he said.

Simona Halep planned to console herself with chocolate after suffering an emphatic defeat to teenager Iga Swiatek in the fourth round of the French Open.

Unseeded 19-year-old Swiatek gained sweet revenge for a hammering at the hands of Halep at the same stage of the tournament last year, demolishing the top seed 6-1 6-2 on Sunday.

The Polish player blew away the two-time grand slam champion with an astonishing performance on Court Philippe-Chatrier to reach her first major quarter-final.

Halep had won a career-best 17 consecutive matches, but the Roland Garros favourite offered no excuses after Swiatek – who will face unheralded Italian Martina Trevisan in the last eight - gave the Romanian food for thought in Paris.

"I realise that it was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match," Halep said.

"Of course it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."

The 2018 champion was full of praise for her teenage opponent, who barely put a foot wrong in a powerful performance.

Halep said: "All the credit to her, she played unbelievable today and she was everywhere and she hit all the balls in very strong, very powerful.

"It was a little bit cold and I couldn't be at my best, but, yeah, she played really well and it was her match today."

HaIep, who skipped the recent US Open, confirmed she will play in the Australian Open next season.

Assessing Swiatek's game, she added: "I knew she was going to be aggressive. I knew that she's playing this way.

"Today it worked really well for her, every ball. She was very confident, she was powerful, so it was a great match for her."

Rafael Nadal made light work of Sebastian Korda and the strong Paris winds to book his place in the French Open quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-1 6-2 Sunday stroll.

American Korda had never played a main-draw match on clay prior to the tournament and the gulf in class was evident throughout as Nadal barely broke sweat in the swirling gusts.

The 'King of Clay', aiming for a 13th title in the French capital, has dropped just 23 games in four matches thus far but 48 unforced errors from Korda, a huge Nadal supporter growing up, helped his cause on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

"I honestly believe we are looking at a great player, he had some mistakes in important moments but the way he hit the ball is impressive," said a gracious Nadal, who has reached the last eight without dropping a set for the eighth time. "I'm happy to be in the quarter-finals again and [it was] another tough match today."

Korda was such a big fan of Nadal's he named his pet cat 'Rafa' and the giant American got his claws into his opponent early with a couple of break-point chances.

But, having seen them off, Nadal was soon purring. With Korda - who was hindered by 18 first-set errors - struggling in testing conditions, he Spaniard breezed through the opener in just 40 minutes.

Nadal only hit nine winners in the first two sets as Korda's error count continued to creep up but one particularly wonderful textbook forehand down the line set up another break and a two-set lead.

To his credit, Korda made a decent fist of it in the fourth, taking a 2-0 lead early doors, only for an unflappable Nadal to reel off six straight games and coast into the last eight.


Data slam: Nadal punishes error-strewn Korda

It would have taken a huge leap of faith to back Korda in this one but an error count of 48, even accounting for tricky conditions, is a gift you cannot present Nadal no matter how much you admire him.

That Nadal, who won 64 per cent of points at the net and was successful with 72 per cent of second serves, had just 15 winners tells the story of how he did not need to hit top gear.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 15/20
Korda - 21/48

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 1/1
Korda - 0/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 8/11
Korda - 1/6

Novak Djokovic's stellar year has rolled into the French Open, where he has made the most dominant start of his career.

The world number one crushed Daniel Elahi Galan at Roland Garros on Saturday to ease into the fourth round.

Djokovic is now 34-1 in 2020, and that loss came when he defaulted after hitting a linesperson with a ball in a fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta at the US Open last month.

The Serbian faces a bigger test in the fourth round in Paris, where Russian 15th seed Karen Khachanov awaits.

Djokovic is aiming for history at the French Open as he bids to become the first man in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam twice.

And he has made an imposing start.

Djokovic showing hard-court dominance on clay

Through three rounds, Djokovic has dropped just 15 games at the French Open.

He has dispatched of Mikael Ymer, Ricardas Berankis and Galan to cruise through the first week.

The 15 games lost is comfortably the most dominant Djokovic has been through the opening three rounds at the tournament. His previous best was 23 in 2012, when he made the final before losing to Rafael Nadal.

It is just the third time in his illustrious career that Djokovic has dropped 15 or fewer games through three rounds – when every match has been completed to that point – at any major. It follows the 2012 Australian Open, when he lost just 10, and the US Open (14) later that year. Djokovic won the title in Melbourne in 2012, but fell to Andy Murray in the final at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic has won 11 of his 17 majors on hard courts, but his dominance at this year's French Open has so far been similar.

Compared to the king

Incredibly, Djokovic's start matches Nadal's best at Roland Garros, where the Spaniard is the undisputed king.

Nadal has won 12 French Open titles in 15 appearances, but only once has he started the way Djokovic has in 2020. That came in 2017, when he also dropped 15 games through three rounds on his way to a 10th French Open crown.

The Spanish great destroyed Benoit Paire, Robin Haase and Nikoloz Basilashvili to begin the tournament three years ago. He won that title losing no more than four games in a set, including thrashing Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Stan Wawrinka in the decider.

The 19-time grand slam champion is bidding to equal Roger Federer for the most majors won by a man, and he will always take some stopping in Paris.

Nadal has lost 19 games through three rounds this year, but that is his best start at the tournament since 2017. Lacking match practice amid the coronavirus pandemic, he is looking dangerous yet againi.

Unseeded teenager Iga Swiatek thrashed French Open favourite Simona Halep to reach her first grand slam quarter-final at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Halep beat Swiatek 6-1 6-0 at the same stage of the Paris major last year, but the world number 54 from Poland gained sweet revenge with a magnificent 6-1 6-2 victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Two-time grand slam champion Halep had won a career-best 17 consecutive matches, but she was bulled by the inspired 19-year-old, who hit 30 winners and did not face a break point in a stunning performance.

Swiatek's reward for a relentless display will be a last-eight showdown with outsider Martina Trevisan or Kiki Bertens in Paris, where the seeds continue to crash out in a women's draw that is wide open.

The aggressive Swiatek made a blistering start, winning the first three games as she pummelled Halep with thunderous groundstrokes - her forehand in particular firing on all cylinders.

Halep had no answer to the relentless Warsaw native, who went 5-1 up with an exquisite drop shot and wrapped up the opening set in just 24 minutes.

Swiatek showed no let-up at the start of the second set, breaking in the first game and unleashing more rasping forehands in a lengthy fifth game before Halep netted at full stretch to go 4-1 down after saving five break points.

Halep was shellshocked and Swiatek completed an astonishing demolition of the 2018 champion, serving out a one-sided match with nerves of steel.

Petra Kvitova saw off the talented Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez to reach her first French Open fourth-round match since 2015, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin was in fine form against Irina Bara.

Kvitova, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2012, had only gone as far as the third round in Paris in the previous four years and did not compete in the competition in 2019.

But she showed fight and gusto to battle back from a major deficit in the first set and eventually see off Fernandez, who only turned 18 last month.

Kenin was given a lot less to worry about against her Romanian opponent, barely breaking a sweat as she swept past Bara with consummate ease and brought out the party tricks.

KVITOVA RISES TO THE CHALLENGE

A major shock appeared to be on the cards for Fernandez for a while in this contest, as the youngster found herself 5-1 to the good in the opening set.

She even had two set points, but Fernandez – the junior champion at Roland Garros just last year – could not quite hold her nerve.

Kvitova rattled off nine games in succession to impressively rise to the occasion, showing immense willpower and focus to recover from such a deficit and seal the first set.

After consecutive breaks on her serve at the start of the second, Fernandez did hit back with one of her own as she too showed some spirit – but it was too little, too late, as the experienced two-time Wimbledon champion powered to victory with 32 winners to 19.

The challenge she faced was not lost on Kvitova, as she said: "I definitely think that she is really playing a great game. She's a great mover. She catches a lot of balls and if she has a chance, she's really going for it.

"It was really challenging today. I'm really happy I found a way even though it wasn't easy."

Her reward is a meeting with Zhang Shuai, who saw off France's Clara Burel 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

FLYING KENIN TRIES THE TRICKS

Kenin will take some stopping on this form. The fourth seed was imperious against Bara, winning 6-2 6-0 in one hour and 12 minutes.

The Australian Open champion rattled off 34 winners and achieved an in-match double bagel, winning 12 games on the spin after falling behind to an early break.

"I feel like I'm playing well at the slams," she said. "Obviously I feel like I should get deep in a tournament. I'm a bit hard on myself. It's a little bit different mindset now coming into the slams.

"Towards the end I just started getting a little bit careless. I started like doing drop shots towards the end, like just for fun. I was like, 'why not? Let's just do drop shots'. But then she obviously picked up her game."

Next up for Kenin is Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, who beat Patricia Maria Tig 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-0.

 

JABEUR BLAZING A TRAIL AS MUGURUZA CRASHES AND BURNS

Three years after becoming the first Arab woman to reach the third round at a grand slam, Jabeur went one better by booking her place in the last 16.

The Tunisian overcame eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (9-7) 2-6 6-3 out on court 14.

Jabeur took the opener after squandering three set points on serve but lost 15 points in a row at the start of the second, admitting afterwards that keeping calm and carrying on saw her through.

"She was screaming, fighting every point... in some very important points, especially when she got back at 6-6," Jabeur said. "For me, I wanted to stay calm because I had no reason to be angry. I think that helped me a lot today."

Danielle Collins awaits in the next round for Jabeur after the unseeded American produced a shock by eliminating 11th seed and 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza.

In the final match of the day, Muguruza was unable to sustain the level she showed after fighting back from a set down, as Collins progressed 7-5 2-6 6-4 despite finding herself trailing by two breaks in the decider.

Novak Djokovic overcame some rain frustrations to beat lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan 6-0 6-3 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the French Open.

In advancing to that stage for an 11th straight year, the world number one equalled a Roland Garros record held by his long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and set up a fourth-round tie with 15th seed Karen Khachanov.

Djokovic had never lost to a lucky loser and world number 153 Galan, whose first two wins at a grand slam came earlier this week, was no match for the Serbian - the victory confirmed in two hours and eight minutes.

The two had a prolonged stay on Philippe Chatrier, though, as the match was suspended in the second set while they waited for the roof to close - something that Djokovic had called for long before it happened - on a rainy Paris evening.

The roof being open was an irritant to the Serbian in the first set, not that it prevented him from taking the opener with ease as Colombian Galan failed to produce a single winner.

However, the ongoing drizzle continued to frustrate Djokovic in the second, particularly following back-to-back double faults, and the roof started to close after Galan won his first game with a brilliant cross-court forehand.

Heavier rain started to fall and the world number one called a halt to proceedings himself when Galan slipped, leading to a second-set suspension while the roof fully closed, with Djokovic amusing himself by grabbing a brush and helping out the baseline maintenance.

Upon the resumption, his second successful break of the second set put him six games from victory and he duly wrapped up the win without dropping serve.

Data slam: French Open win number 71 for Djokovic

He may have only won this grand slam on one occasion - in 2016 - but this was Djokovic's 71st victory at Roland Garros, taking him past Federer for the second-most in the event's history. Clay-court king Nadal is the only man with more French Open victories and Djokovic remains some way off his total of 95.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic - 38/28
Galan - 18/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic - 2/2
Galan - 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic - 7/13
Galan - 0/5

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed his 25th win of the year to progress to the last 16 of the French Open.

The fifth seed became the first Greek player to reach this stage at Roland Garros on multiple occasions after overcoming Aljaz Bedene.

Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov will meet for the first time in the fourth round, with each having had curtailed time on court on Saturday as their respective opponents retired.

Marton Fucsovics set up a showdown with in-form Andrey Rublev, but the day arguably belonged to Daniel Altmaier, whose remarkable run continues after he dispatched world number eight Matteo Berrettini.

 

TSITSIPAS READY FOR REAL TEST

Tsitsipas barely broke sweat as he advanced to the last 16, with Bedene retiring with a foot problem in the third set.

The pair had only been on court for 80 minutes, Tsitsipas having taken a commanding 6-1 6-2 3-1 lead against the clearly hampered Slovenian.

While the match inevitably lost a level of intrigue, the same cannot be said for Tsitsipas at these finals. The 22-year-old, whose personalised face masks have been a hit at the championships, has also made a point of keeping his media duties interesting.

Perhaps that comes in part from the young Tsitsipas' journalistic background. "I was a journalist when I was 11, 12 years old. I had this Facebook page, which I very often updated with news about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic," he explained.

"I was really into it. Every day after school I would check the results, check the current, latest tennis news. I would update it. It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed doing it.

"Journalism and press and media, I love this a lot. I do understand how it operates, how it works. So for me, you know, I'm a tennis player, and if something works, I'm on the court the next day  trying to do the same thing. For me sometimes there isn't really much for me to say tactical-wise or match-wise because I'm just trying to follow the things that have been working for me."

Tsitsipas will now meet Dimitrov, who had even less time on court against Roberto Carballes, the Spaniard retiring at 1-6 3-6 down with a little over an hour played.

It is the first time Dimitrov, a semi-finalist at each of the other majors in his career, has reached the second week in Paris.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Altmaier produced the finest two hours and 15 minutes of his career as he defeated Berrettini, a semi-finalist at last year's US Open, in straight sets.

The seventh seed lost 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to the German qualifier, who is ranked 186th in the world and nearly did not compete in Paris due to injury.

"My coach and I have been working so hard to be here, and while I've struggled with a few injuries, I am super-pleased it’s at Roland Garros," said Altmaier, who is just the fifth qualifier since 2000 to reach the last 16 of a men's slam.

"Before qualifying, I was struggling with an injury, so I wasn't sure I was going to play. I hope the crowd and the TV audience enjoyed watching, as I want to entertain."

Next up for Altmaier will be Pablo Carreno Busta – himself a US Open semi-finalist just three weeks ago – after he beat compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-4 in three hours and 22 minutes.

FUCSOVICS READY FOR RUBLEV

Rublev's winning streak stretched to eight matches as he made light work of big-serving Kevin Anderson, winning 6-3 6-2 6-3 in just 94 minutes.

Anderson, the former world number five, hit 33 unforced errors and won just four points on Rublev's first serve as he fell to the Russian.

Rublev will now face Fucsovics, who beat Brazil's Thiago Monteiro 7-5 6-1 6-3. It will be their first meeting since the 2017 Davis Cup, when Fucsovics fought from two sets down to help Hungary to a 3-1 victory.

"We were different players," said Fucsovics. "Right now he's just about to break in the top 10. I got more matured. I have more experience. I'm fit now, fitter than ever. I'm looking forward to playing a good match against him, try to break through finally to the quarter-finals."

Simona Halep is playing free of pressure despite becoming an even stronger favourite to win the French Open in the first week of the tournament.

The 2018 champion arrived at Roland Garros rated as the most likely victor, a status that has been enhanced by three comfortable wins along with the exit of second seed Karolina Pliskova and the withdrawal of Serena Williams due to injury.

The latest of Halep's comfortable victories - her 17th consecutive in a row on the WTA Tour - came as she thrashed Amanda Anisimova 6-0 6-1 in just 54 minutes on Friday, avenging her quarter-final defeat to the American last year.

Next she faces Iga Swiatek in round four, a player she beat comprehensively at the same stage in 2019, but despite increasingly being tipped to go all the way, the Romanian feels no extra strain.

"No, I don't [feel more responsibility] and I don't feel the pressure," she said when asked about the huge expectations on her and Rafael Nadal, the favourite in the men's singles.

"Of course I expect from myself to play good tennis, because I feel good, I feel the game, I feel fit, I feel stronger on my body. 

"But doesn't mean I have to win every match. Important thing for me is just to deliver what I have best in the day that I play, and then we'll see. 

"I'm not thinking about the result. I just want to try to take my chance every time I step on the court, and I'm not thinking about title. It's very far, and many players are playing really well in the draw. So no expectations about that."

Swiatek booked the fourth-round clash with Halep by winning 6-2 6-3 against Eugenie Bouchard.

 

HOME HOPE GARCIA BEATS MERTENS IN THRILLER

Sixteenth seed Elise Mertens looked like she was on course for the fourth round until she was beaten by a superb comeback from Caroline Garcia.

Garcia delighted French fans on Court Philippe-Chatrier, hitting 38 winners to triumph 1-6 6-4 7-5.

"It was a great feeling out there - especially the match was a big fight in the second and third sets," said Garcia.

"So to be able to live this kind of moment... first of all, because we didn't know what was going to happen, so to be able to play French Open it's a great feeling - and to have some crowd to be able to share it with, it's even more special.

"Especially as they were really cheering for me. And I think Elise lived the moment like me."

 

SVITOLINA AND BERTENS CRUISE THROUGH, SAKKARI STUNNED

Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens needed just the two sets to seal their places in round four.

Third seed Svitolina will face Garcia after she overcame Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 7-5 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen as she eyes a maiden grand slam title.

Svitolina won despite hitting just eight winners to 30 unforced errors, while Alexandrova had 25 winners and 49 unforced errors across two scrappy sets for both players.

Bertens, the fifth seed, sent Katerina Siniakova packing 6-2 6-2 Court Philippe-Chatrier, but Maria Sakkari failed to make it into the second week.

The 159th-ranked Martina Trevisan caused an upset by ousting Sakkari, saving two match points before winning 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Hugo Gaston was the toast of Roland Garros as the young Frenchman announced himself to the tennis world by sinking former champion Stan Wawrinka.

Ranked a lowly 239th in the world, Toulouse-born Gaston was tackling a player who has reached two French Open finals and eyeing a third trip to the title match.

Left-hander Gaston had other ideas though, and in a third-round contest that was halted by rain for over two hours in the third set, he scored a 2-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-0 over the illustrious Swiss.

That victory came on a Friday when 12-time champion Rafael Nadal produced what he described as his best tennis so in his favourite grand slam, as he and Dominic Thiem remained on course for a semi-final showdown.

Lorenzo Sonego won an epic third set tie-break against Taylor Fritz, taking it 19-17 to reach the fourth round of a major for the first time, while his fellow Italian Jannik Sinner and American Sebastian Korda also entered previously uncharted territory in their careers.

GASTON'S BIG MOMENT

Already the last French player standing in the men's singles, the prospect of Gaston ending Wawrinka's hopes looked slim, with the three-time grand slam winner having looked sharp in the first two rounds, beating Andy Murray and the useful German Dominik Koepfer.

Yet Gaston, a wildcard entry who only turned 20 last Saturday, gave French tennis a major shot in the arm with a terrific performance.

He and Wawrinka had to retreat to the locker room at 2-2 in the third set, with the match finely poised, and an immediate break on the resumption from Gaston spoke volumes for his focus.

The deciding set was strangely one-sided, and Gaston, who benefited from 74 unforced errors from the Wawrinka racket, was able to celebrate the greatest moment of his fledgling career.

He said afterwards: "It's crazy what's happening. I tried to play my game, I went on the court to win."

Addressing the small crowd on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, he added: "I didn't necessarily think I would win, but you pushed me. Thank you all."

On the prospect of facing Thiem, Gaston said: "It's going to be a crazy experience. I will do everything to win too."

The ATP revealed Gaston is the lowest-ranked player to reach the fourth round of the French Open since Arnaud Di Pasquale in 2002 achieved the feat when 283rd in the world.

THIEM IN RUUD HEALTH

Thiem, the third seed, dashed to a 6-4 6-3 6-1 win against Norway's Casper Ruud. It was a case of the Austrian making light work of what looked a tricky task against a player who reached semi-finals in Rome and Hamburg before coming to Paris.

He got the job done in two and a quarter hours, and at that stage would have been expecting to face Wawrinka in the fourth round.

Thiem will no doubt do his homework on Gaston before they play, with the recently crowned US Open champion targeting a third visit to the French Open final, having been runner-up in each of the last two years.

"Of course I'm starting to feel all the last weeks physically, also emotionally," Thiem said. "I really love this tournament, and I would love to go deep to play well. I'll do everything to get a good recovery."

RAFA BEGINNING TO PURR

A 96th match win at Roland Garros from Nadal came moments after Gaston's thunder-stealing moment.

He swept away the hopes of Italian Stefano Travaglia, a 6-1 6-4 6-0 victory emphasising the form Nadal is running into, having delayed his post-lockdown return to action and skipped the US Open.

Next for Nadal is Korda, and the son of former French Open runner-up Petr Korda revealed that as a youngster he had a pet cat Rafa, named after the Spanish great.

"That says a lot about how much I love the guy," Korda said.

Responding to that bombshell, Nadal said: "Well, that means that I have been on the TV for such a long time, that's the main thing. The same like when I was a kid, I was watching Sampras, Agassi, Carlos Moya.

"Another negative thing is that it means I'm 34. That's another point that is not beautiful. But I'm happy to hear that. I know he's playing great. He's a very young kid with a lot of power. I think he has an amazing future - hopefully not yet."

Rafael Nadal steamed through to the French Open fourth round as he fended off Stefano Travaglia on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Italian Travaglia has a surname that translates to mean 'troubles', but Nadal was given no real cause for concern in a 6-1 6-4 6-0 victory.

Such was his control that the Spaniard won 82 per cent of points on his second serve, higher than his first-serve rate.

"I played my best match so far this year at Roland Garros. I hope I can play this way until the end," Nadal said in an on-court interview.

These early rounds are more important than usual for Nadal, who arrived in France short of match activity after sitting out the Western and Southern Open and the US Open.

Although he returned to action at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, that was his first tournament since February, and a quarter-final exit to Diego Schwartzman was a worrying setback for the greatest clay-court player in history.

Step by step, Nadal is going through the gears in Paris, the 12-time champion inching towards the form that has brought him such rich rewards on previous visits to the French capital.

To win a 13th title at this tournament, which would move him level with Roger Federer's all-time men's record of 20 career grand slams, Nadal is likely to have to beat Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Novak Djokovic in the title match.

Travaglia had some spark to his game, and he played a number of clever shots that made the second set a contest, but few have ever had the tools to stop Nadal on this surface and the world number 74 was inevitably found wanting.

Next for Nadal is a last-16 clash with Sebastian Korda, the American son of former French Open runner-up Petr Korda.

Data slam: Volley good show from Nadal

It ended with a volley, and Nadal was often coming in close, winning 19 of 23 points where he attacked the net. He won six of seven break points and said afterwards that it was his most aggressive performance so far this fortnight. The serving is looking good, he remains a baseline master, and the fact Nadal is marauding front and back of the court augurs well for what lies ahead.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 28/13
Travaglia - 13/24

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 2/0
Travaglia - 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 6/7
Travaglia - 0/0

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