World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Spanish countryman David Ferrer will reprise last year’s meeting in the French Open final after both players advanced into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros on Monday.
Nadal steamrolled unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1, while Ferrer needed four sets to tame No. 19-seeded South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1.
“I will try to do my best,” said Ferrer of the quarterfinal meeting. “I will try to play aggressively with my forehand and try to finish the points at the net…Tactically, I will have to be perfect. I hope that I will instill some doubts in Rafa’s mind, but if we play at our best level, both of us, he will be the better player. So I will pull out all the stops to play well without making errors, and we’ll see what’s going to happen…I was very nervous [last year in the final]. I was jittery. It was a little bit too much for me. But now I’m calmer, I’ve had time to adapt.”
No. 7 seed Andy Murray set a quarterfinal meeting with French favorite and No. 23 seed Gael “Force” Monfils after the Scot beat No. 24 seed Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(3). Monfils eased past unseeded Spaniard Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
“It’s going to be an exciting match,” Murray said of facing Monfils. “I’m sure there will be some fun rallies. There always is when I have played against him. We haven’t played against each other for quite a while, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Murray holds a career 3-2 lead over Monfils, but the Frenchman has defeated Murray the two previous times they met at Roland Garros.
“He won Wimbledon, so for sure mentally it will be different for him,” Monfils said. “He has proved that on clay he’s a tough opponent, too…We grew up pretty much together. It’s been a long time I know him, and it’s always fun to play against him.”
On the women’s side the last remaining American man or woman exited the French Open when No. 4 seed Simona Halep defeated No. 15 Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals.
“I’m really happy I’m in the quarterfinals for the first time in my life here because I love Paris,” said Halep, who frustrated the American with her endless ball retrieving. “I have a lot of confidence in myself. Day by day I’m playing better and better. I love the clay here and feel very comfortable. I don’t want to stop in the quarterfinals — I want to go further and I have to get ready for the next test.”
Her next test will be former two-time Slam champ and No. 27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated No. 23 Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4. The 2009 French Open champion Kuznetsova is into the Roland Garros quarterfinals for the sixth time and the second straight year.
“She is already in the Top 10 and is a very good player,” Kuznetsova said of Halep, with the two splitting their four career meetings. “I think she is going to get even better than she is now.”
In a battle of Top 10-ranked opponents, former French finalist and No. 10 seed Sara Errani outlasted No. 6 Jelena Jankovic in a match featuring a number of grueling rallies 7-6(5), 6-2.
“As the match got longer and longer, I got more and more tired,” Jankovic said. “All those drop shots, I did not do well. When I was close to the net, she always got me. She was very solid. She’s not going to give you anything, that’s for sure — you have to beat her. She plays so well on clay.”
Errani will next meet No. 28 seed Andrea Petkovic, who came from a set down to beat Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Quarterfinal play on Tuesday at Roland Garros will see Garbine Muguruza vs. (7) Maria Sharapova, (8) Milos Raonic vs. (2) Novak Djokovic, (14) Carla Suarez Navarro vs. (18) Eugenie Bouchard, and (6) Tomas Berdych vs. (18) Ernests Gulbis.
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