Rafael Nadal has declared he does not want this to be his final French Open.

The announcement from Nadal seems to put to bed the theory that he could announce an immediate retirement if he wins the title for a 14th time at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Nadal, who takes on Alexander Zverev in Friday's semi-finals, is battling a long-troubling foot problem in Paris and remarkably saw off Novak Djokovic in an electrifying showdown on Tuesday night.

His pain threshold appears to be far beyond that of the average human, and Nadal has brought a doctor with him to France to further improve his prospects of lasting the distance.

Friday also marks Nadal's 36th birthday, and he has dropped heavy hints that this might be his final fling.

However, if that proves to be the case, it will be with heavy reluctance on Nadal's part, as he made clear on Thursday.

Speaking to Spanish broadcaster TVE, Nadal said: "I have always had things clear. I accept things as they come. At no time do I intend for it to seem like a farewell.

"What happens is that there is a reality that today is what it is. We will continue working to find solutions to what is happening down here.

"I trust and hope to be able to return. What happens is that there is a year to go, and it is evident that these last months, not these last three, I would say that since last year they are being difficult.

"The day-to-day with everything that entails is being difficult, not because of the effort that it entails for me, but also to maintain competitiveness. I play to be competitive, which is what really makes me happy.

"We are going to enjoy the moment and after this we will continue thinking about the things that need to be improved, and the hope is to continue."

There would seem a strong chance that Nadal elects to miss the grass-court season in order to rest up, but he continues to defy expectations, so nothing can be ruled out. 

Should he triumph in a grand slam for a 22nd time on Sunday, it would take him two clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time list.

Nadal's record at this tournament is quite extraordinary, surpassing the achievement of any other player in tennis history at a single grand slam.

Alongside his 13 French Open titles, he has won 330 of the 364 sets he has contested at the event and owns a 110-3 win-loss match record.

Some 88 of those wins at the French Open have come in straight sets, and from 2010 to 2015 he reeled off 39 victories in succession, until Djokovic beat him in the quarter-finals.

Nadal has won 23 6-0 sets at his favourite major, including subjecting Federer and Djokovic to such torture in the 2008 and 2020 finals respectively.

Zverev has only been to one grand slam final, losing at the US Open to Dominic Thiem in 2020, but may think his time is coming after an impressive quarter-final win over Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old widely acclaimed as the next clay-court king.

It might help the German that the spotlight will be fixed on Nadal, too, as it invariably is on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

There has been no collective chasing away of Nadal amid the talk that his career could be on the rocks, and no media agenda involved. This is a thrilling late-career resurgence from the Spaniard that many, albeit perhaps not Djokovic supporters, would like to see continue.

This time he has laid his injury situation quite bare, and magical nights such as the four-set epic against Djokovic this week are becoming increasingly loaded with poignancy.

As Nadal said in a news conference after that match, regardless of his intentions, this could well be his French Open farewell.

"Yes, I can't say another thing, no?" Nadal said. "I am very clear about that, no?

"I am old enough to not hide things or come here and say a thing that I don't believe. I don't know what can happen. I think, as I said before, I'm gonna be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don't know what's gonna happen after here.

"I mean, I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it's becoming super difficult for me.

"I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future.

"Of course I'm gonna keep fighting to find a solution for that, but for the moment, we haven't. So to just give myself a chance to play another semi-final here in Roland Garros is a lot of energy for me."

Carlos Alcaraz was philosophical after his French Open elimination at the hands of Alexander Zverev, adamant he has no need to blow it out of proportion.

Despite being seeded three places below Zverev, the 19-year-old Spaniard went into their quarter-final as many people's favourite.

But after a slow start that Zverev punished, Alcaraz's second grand slam quarter-final proved a learning curve.

Zverev ultimately won 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7) to clinch his maiden top-10 scalp at a grand slam, though the German acknowledged he managed to end the contest just as Alcaraz was starting to take charge.

As such, the sixth seed felt there were plenty of reasons to feel positive about his tournament.

"I would say I finished the match playing better," he said. "I leave the court, leave the tournament with the head very high. I fight until the last ball. I fought until the last second of the match, and I'm proud of it.

"I have to take the lesson today. It was a tough match and close match I think. I could say I didn't start well, and in this level, quarter-final of a grand slam, you are playing against the best players in the world, so you have to start the match better than I did today.

"I have to improve to the next grand slam or next matches. But I would say I'm not far away to reach a semi-final or be able to win a grand slam.

"I would say I have the level, I have the confidence to win a grand slam or pass through to the semi-final next time.

"I mean, this match is not going to be tough for me or I'm going to say I'm disappointed for this match. I'm just going to try to take the positive things of the match, and of course the bad things that I did, to improve to the next matches or next tournaments or next grand slams.

"I could say I was close to a good match, close to a fifth set, and in the fifth set everything could happen.

"This was my second quarter-final in a grand slam, and I think I fight until the last ball and hope to the next grand slam, next quarter-final that I play in a grand slam, [hope to] do it better and to my chances to pass to the semi-finals."

Alexander Zverev said he was "s******* my pants" as he attempted to stave off a fightback from Carlos Alcaraz in his French Open quarter-final win on Tuesday.

Zverev claimed an impressive 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7) win over the 19-year-old Spaniard to set up a semi-final with either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.

The German initially appeared dominant as his controlled and composed display saw him take a two-set lead, and although Alcaraz did improve in the third, Zverev even had the opportunity to serve out the match for a straight-sets win.

He failed to grasp that chance and Alcaraz looked likely to level the match as he began to exert greater control in rallies – his dropshots proving especially threatening.

But Zverev clung on even as the crowd vociferously backed his opponent in the fourth-set tie-break, eventually seizing his opportunity when he felt Alcaraz was potentially taking charge of the match.

Asked about his emotions in a fourth set that was something of a rollercoaster, he said: "[I was] s******* my pants as well."

The rather crude joke received a flat response from a Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd that never particularly got behind Zverev.

However, he soon waxed lyrical about his popular opponent, who was the first top-10 scalp of Zverev's career at a grand slam.

"At the end of the day, I knew I had to play my absolute best tennis from the start, and I'm happy I did that," Zverev continued.

"He kept on coming back, he's an incredible player. I told him at the net that he's going to win this tournament a lot of times, not only once.

"So I hope I can win it before he starts beating us all and we'll have no chance at all."

Zverev suggested his dip after the second set was contributed to by the changing conditions, having thrived in the sun and then seen his level drop when in the shade.

But he could not hide his joy at avoiding a fifth set.

"For me, when it's shady and slower it's not perfect for me," he said. "I didn't get broken once when it was sunny, the ball was a lot faster, I had to adjust my strings as well.

"The match was turning his way, so at the end of the day I'm extremely happy I won the tie-break and I didn't have to play a five-set match, didn't have to be disappointed after the five-set match again like I was last year.

"I'm still in the tournament – usually I'm a very good talker, but right now I can't talk. I'm speechless."

Alexander Zverev beat a top-10 player at a grand slam for the first time in his career as he defeated one of the pre-French Open favourites Carlos Alcaraz to reach the semi-finals.

Despite being seeded higher, Zverev seemingly came into the match as the underdog but ultimately produced a cool performance to win 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7) and awaits either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.

Alcaraz's sloppiness helped contribute to a fairly dominant first couple of sets for Zverev, but the gifted Spaniard fought back impressively to take the third and the tide appeared to be turning in the teenager's favour.

Zverev was no longer controlling rallies and increasingly found Alcaraz's blend of power and finesse tricky to cope with, but showed admirable grit to cling on and silence his opponent's vocal support.

The 25-year-old improved after a nervy start, capitalising on poor serving to claim the first break, with the near-flawless Zverev dropping just two more points on serve as he closed the first set in composed fashion.

The erratic Alcaraz was showing only flashes of his ability, while Zverev appeared unflappable as he saved a break point at 2-1 down in the second set before snatching a break of his own – the Spaniard regretting an attempt to serve and volley as he quickly found himself two sets down.

Going on the offensive was a necessity for Alcaraz in the third set and his spirit kept him alive when saving another break point with an immaculate drop shot – one of many – and an ace at 4-4.

He then finally broke Zverev for the first time, another brilliant drop shot doing the business, and he soon had the set.

By this point, Alcaraz appeared to be exerting greater control in the rallies playing up to the crowd more, but Zverev ended their fourth-set deadlock with a break that allowed him to serve for the match – not that he could capitalise.

Alcaraz hit back instantly and emphatically with a tie-break beckoning. His energy seemed to suggest the match was heading only one way, but Zverev held off a set point and finally put the match to bed with a reflex shot at the net.  

Alexander Zverev says he was planning a holiday when he found himself two sets down to Sebastian Baez in the French Open on Wednesday.

Baez was on the verge of a huge win on Court Philippe-Chatrier, but Zverev roared back to win 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5 and move into the third round.

It was the third time the German had come from two sets down to secure a victory, having done so at the 2019 US Open semi-finals and at the 2021 French Open.

Zverev, who saved match point, claims he was thinking about being on the beach when he was on the ropes at Roland Garros.

"I couldn't have played any worse [at the start], I just tried to find a rhythm and did that. I'm happy still being in the tournament right now," he said.

"I was planning my holiday in Monaco, where I was going to go and who I was going to with and that relaxed me, thinking about the beach.

"You just have to find a way. You talk about mental strength and the greats, like Rafa [Nadal], Roger [Federer] and Novak [Djokovic], they always find a way.

"I will never be at their level, but I'm trying to get closer to them."

Zverev spoke to Baez at the net following his victory, and asked what he said to the 21-year-old Argentine, he replied: "I told Sebastian this is the worst you will ever feel on a tennis court, right now at this moment.

"I know how he feels as I lost the US Open final from being two sets up and was two points away.

"Then the next season I won an Olympic Games gold medal, so you always get better. He is an unbelievably great kid and he will do a lot of unbelievable things in this sport."

Zverev will next face Brandon Nakashima, who has reached the third round in a grand slam for the first time on his debut in Paris.

The German will hope to sure up his game for that match, given he made 46 unforced errors against Baez - just one fewer than his opponent.

Carlos Alcaraz relished making his debut on Court Philippe Chatrier as the rising star made an impressive start to his French Open campaign.

Madrid Open champion Alcaraz won his first-round clash against Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 6-2 6-0 as the tournament in Paris got under way on Sunday.

The 19-year-old – who has been tipped as one of the favourites to win the second major of the year – dispatched Londero in under two hours and enjoyed his time in the spotlight.

Asked about his first experience on Philippe Chatrier, Alcaraz said: "It was difficult at the beginning, but it's always special to play in such a great stadium, a great court. 

"I'm really happy with the performance in my first match in Philippe Chatrier, and hope to play more matches in this court.

"I am trying to be focused just on the tournaments, on the matches, and trying [not] to be a part of the social media and everyone talking about you.

"Just focus on what I have to improve, what I have to do on the matches, what I have to do every day to be ready in the tournament."

Elsewhere, third seed Alexander Zverev opened his campaign with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner.

A semi-finalist at Roland-Garros last year, Zverev – who did not even allow Ofner a single break-point opportunity – was asked what he had learned about himself in the 12 months since.

"Well, you grow, you grow up in a way," said the German. 

"Each year you understand more and more what it takes to be pro tennis players, that there are difficulties on the court, that there are difficulties in any job that you do. 

"Generally speaking, I get older, I'm 25 years old now. I'm not the young guy that Alcaraz is or some of the other guys are any more. 

"I think as any other person as well, just taking tennis away, you just get more life experience."

Zverev is yet to learn his second-round opponent, but Alcaraz will face fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas next.

Stefanos Tsitsipas sank the title hopes of Alexander Zverev as the Greek star edged the Rome edition of their semi-final series on clay this season.

At the Internazionali d'Italia, Tsitsipas scored a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over German Zverev to earn a place in Sunday's final.

These two players have now met 12 times in their careers, and Tsitsipas holds an 8-4 head-to-head winning record.

Three of those matches have come at clay-court ATP 1000 tournaments in the past four weeks, with Tsitsipas winning a semi-final on the way to the title in Monte Carlo, then losing to Zverev at the same stage in Madrid.

This latest instalment in Italy was a gripping contest, as the players battled to take on Novak Djokovic or Casper Ruud for the title.

An early break came in the seventh game when, serving at 30-40, Tsitsipas attacked the net but Zverev hit the net cord on his backhand return. The deflection disorientated Tsitsipas slightly and he volleyed wide. One break was enough for the set.

Tsitsipas broke in the second game of the second set, with Zverev serving a double fault at the critical moment, and then got decisively ahead in the fifth game of the decider when Zverev netted on the forehand.

This was a strong win for last year's French Open runner-up, who lost that championship match from two sets up against Djokovic at Roland Garros. It carries Tsitsipas through to his first Internazionali d'Italia final, and a 20th final of his ATP career. He has an 8-11 record in finals to date, and a tour-leading 31 match wins this season.

Felix Auger-Aliassime proved no match for Novak Djokovic, who looks well set to claim his first title of 2022.

It has been a frustrating season to date for the Serbian, who reached a final in Belgrade last month before being beaten by rising star Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid earlier in May.

Yet with Rafael Nadal out of the picture, Djokovic is the clear favourite heading into the Internazionali d'Italia semi-finals, after he beat Auger-Aliassime 7-5 7-6 (7-1) on Friday.

The win not only tees up a semi-final against Casper Ruud, who saw off Nadal's conqueror Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, but also ensures Djokovic will spend a 370th week at the top of the ATP rankings, after he slipped below Daniil Medvedev in the live standings.

Djokovic will add 360 points to his total for reaching the last four, and he now has a milestone 1,000th Tour-level win in his sights when he takes on Ruud for a place in the final. The 34-year-old has won a record 37 Masters 1000 titles so far in his career, including five in Rome.

"I thought it was high-level tennis," Djokovic said. "[Auger-Aliassime] did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well.

"I thought I could have finished the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting back. 

"I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly. He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return.

"He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player."

The other semi-final will see second seed Alexander Zverev, who beat Cristian Garin 7-5 6-2, take on Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek Tsitsipas overcame Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, becoming the first player to reach 30 wins on the ATP Tour in 2022.

"We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour," Tsitsipas said, previewing his clash with Zverev.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved."

Rafael Nadal suffered his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, but Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-finals. 

'King of Clay' Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome, with the Canadian surging to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set. 

The legendary Spaniard stormed through the first set thanks to a series of brilliant returns, but his opponent dominated at the net in the second to take the match the distance. 

Shapovalov then flipped the narrative on its head by winning 14 of a possible 22 return points to set up a quarter-final meeting with Casper Ruud, who beat Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-4. 

Djokovic is one win away from retaining his status as world number one after taking just 75 minutes to see off three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2. 

After a lengthy spell out injured, Wawrinka ended a 15-month wait for an ATP Tour victory at Foro Italico before the Serbian brought his run to an end. 

"It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But, nevertheless, he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time," Djokovic said. 

"I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set." 

Felix Auger-Aliassime stands between Djokovic and the number one spot after overcoming lucky loser Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2. 

In the other half of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner will play out an entertaining quarter-final after they beat Karen Khachano and Filip Krajinovic respectively. 

Alexander Zverev, the defeated finalist in Madrid last week, beat Alex De Minaur 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and will battle Cristian Garin for a place in the final four.

Rafael Nadal accepts he will have to perform better than he did against John Isner if he is to overcome "dangerous" opponent Denis Shapovalov at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number four's bid for an 11th title in Rome got off to a strong start on Wednesday as he saw off big-serving Isner 6-3 6-1 in a time of 76 minutes.

Isner twice missed the chance to break Nadal in the seventh game of the opening set and the Spaniard took control from that point on in the second-round match.

Nadal, who has won this tournament in three of the past four years, identified that hold of serve as a key point in the contest.

"The beginning of the match was not good for me," he said in his on-court interview. "He had some chances on the return and had two break points. 

"He had two not difficult balls so I was in his hands at that moment. I was lucky that he missed those shots and then I was able to break. 

"Then the match changed, of course. With the first set on the board, and having the break in the first game of the second set, everything changed."

Nadal will now face Shapovalov in a repeat of last year's last-16 encounter, which the record 21-time grand slam winner edged in three sets.

He recovered from a set down and saved two match points before beating the Canadian 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to lifting the title in the Italian capital.

And Nadal, who was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz on clay in last week's Madrid Open quarter-final, is not expecting an easy task this time around.

"Last year was a joke, the match that I saved here against him," said Nadal of his next opponent. "I was super lucky. I know how dangerous he is, I need to play well. 

"I need to play better than today, but after a while without being on court it is another victory and I have the chance again to play against one of the best players in the world.

"I need to build things again after a tough stoppage and that's what I am trying now. I just need to stay with the right attitude, and let's see if I am able to make that happen."

Alexander Zverev also booked his place in the last 16 on Wednesday thanks to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory over Sebastian Baez.

Last week's Madrid Open runner-up was given a tough time of things by in-form Baez, but ultimately came through unscathed to stay on course for more silverware.

Alexander Zverev slated ATP chiefs after a punishing defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid Open final, but described his Spanish conqueror as "the best player in the world" and predicted he would win a stack of grand slam titles.

German star Zverev was fuming over his court scheduling this week, claiming late-night contests meant he came into the title match in no fit state to compete as he described tournament bosses as "an absolute disgrace".

He claimed he had only been able to get to bed at 5.20am after a late-night semi-final victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday.

While Zverev had warm words for 19-year-old sensation Alcaraz, he felt he had cause to feel aggrieved at his handling by tennis organisers after his 6-3 6-1 final reverse. 

"I want to congratulate Carlitos," he said in an on-court interview. "Right now, you are the best player in the world. It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many grand slams, that is going to be world number one, and I think is going to win this tournament many more times."

Later, in a news conference, Zverev said Alcaraz had been "playing amazing".

"But one thing I have to say is that the ATP's job was an absolute disgrace this week," Zverev said, according to tennismajors.com. "Two days ago I went to bed at 4:00, 4:30am. Yesterday I went to bed at 5:20am. If any normal person goes to bed one night at 4:00am, the next night at 5:00am, it will be a tough time just to be awake for them.

"And for me to play a final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world right now, in a Masters 1000 event, the next day, it is difficult."

There is little doubt Alcaraz, who will now skip the Internazionali d'Italia to rest before the French Open, is only going to keep progressing.

After beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic this week before overcoming Zverev in the title match, he will leap three places to sixth in the ATP rankings on Monday, having followed up last month's triumph in Miami with his second Masters 1000 title.

"It feels great to be able to beat these players," Alcaraz said. "To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world number three. 

"I would say this is the best week of my life. I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically.

"It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional."

Carlos Alcaraz secured his fifth ATP Tour title and second Masters 1000 crown by cruising past defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 at the Madrid Open.

Alcaraz became the first player to ever defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in consecutive matches en route to the final in the Spanish capital, while Zverev edged out Stefanos Tsitsipas to make the showpiece.

Zverev, a two-time winner in Madrid in 2018 and 2021, boasted a 2-0 head-to-head record over Alcaraz on the ATP Tour heading into the clash on Sunday, but it was the 19-year-old who seized the early initiative.

Alcaraz struck first with a break to go 4-2 up after a dipping backhand evaded the reach of Zverev, who could not muster a response as the Spaniard served out a dominant first set.

The teenager continued in commanding fashion in the second set, delivering a deft drop shot to break Zverev, who missed two straightforward volleys and produced a double fault to fall 4-1 down.

World number three Zverev managed to save three match points, but a double fault then handed Alcaraz victory in just 62 minutes, becoming the youngest five-time tour winner since Nadal won seven titles by the same age in 2004-05.

Alcaraz leads the way for wins in the 2022 season as his 10th straight triumph – and seventh consecutive victory over top-10 ranked players – takes him to 28 for the campaign, one more than Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz is also the second-youngest player to win two ATP Masters 1000 titles, after triumphing in Miami in March, and will rise to second in the Race to Turin as he seeks his debut at the prestigious end-of-season event in November.

Alexander Zverev avenged his Monte Carlo semi-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, booking his place at the Madrid Open final with a 6-4 3-6 6-2 win on Saturday.

Zverev was dominant on serve, giving up only two break points for the match with a 73 per cent first-serve rate, while winning 40 of a total 48 points on his first serve.

The German will now aim to defend his title in Sunday's final when he faces Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated world number one Novak Djokovic earlier on Saturday.

The second seed will be seeking his sixth ATP 1000 title, with Sunday's final against the home favourite to be his 10th at that level.

"I'm just extremely happy to be in the final here," Zverev said post-match. "I know it's going to be an extremely tough match tomorrow but I hope I can manage to play my best and give myself a chance.

"It's going to be his [Alcaraz] court for the next 15 years probably. It has been Rafa's [Nadal] court for the past 15 years and it's going to be his court for the next 15 years.

"I just hope I can give him some trouble and I hope I can manage to win tomorrow."

Tsitsipas was similarly strong on his first serve but had a much lower rate at only 56 per cent for the match. Zverev simply had more looks at his opponent's second serve, winning 15 points compared to Tsitsipas' eight, but with each holding a 44 per cent success rate.

The defending champion at Caja Magica capitalised when it mattered, though, claiming the opening three games in the deciding set to set up the eventual win.

Rafael Nadal saved four match points before seeing off David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6 (11-9) to book his place in the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

A five-time champion in the Spanish capital, Nadal is looking to match Novak Djokovic's career record of 37 ATP Masters 1000 titles this week.

Returning to action for the first time since losing to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final, after which he discovered he had a stress fracture of a rib, Nadal was taken all the way by Goffin.

Indeed, the Belgian qualifier won four straight games from 5-3 down in the second set to force a decider, but he saw four opportunities to advance to the quarter-finals go begging.

Nadal subsequently prevailed to reach his 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final, setting up a last-eight showdown with teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

Birthday boy Alcaraz, who turned 19 on Thursday, celebrated with a hard-earned 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory over Britain's Cameron Norrie.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev reached his fifth successive quarter-final at this event after beating Lorenzo Musetti, who retired with a thigh injury shortly after losing the opening set, at 6-3 1-0 down.

Next up for Zverev is Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Rotterdam Open champion, who is targeting a first clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final. Auger-Aliassime won 90 per cent of points on first serve in a commanding 6-1 6-2 victory over Jannik Sinner.

Stefanos Tsitsipas also produced a strong-serving display in his 6-3 6-4 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov. Last season’s French Open runner-up hit 10 aces along the way.

The fourth seed set up a showdown with Andrey Rublev, who had eight aces as he overcame Dan Evans 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

Meanwhile, Hubert Hurkacz will play Djokovic in the last eight after hitting 16 aces in his 7-5 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic. Djokovic's much-anticipated clash with Andy Murray was called off, with the Briton unwell, handing his Serbian rival a walkover.

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