Rafael Nadal blew away American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1 6-1 6-2 to romp into the French Open quarter-finals on Sunday and close in on a record-extending 13th title at Roland Garros. With the sun out and the wind up on Court Philippe Chatrier; the perfect conditions for the Spaniard minus the wind, it always looked like mission impossible for the 213th-ranked Korda, and so it proved in a one-sided fourth round match.
Nadal didn’t required much effort as he soon broke Korda’s serve in the opening set. Nadal has lost no sets and only 23 games in reaching his 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final and is yet to face a seed.
“I`m in the quarter-finals without losing a set and having very positive scores. So I can`t complain at all,” the 34-year-old, who needs one more Grand Slam title to equal Roger Federer`s 20, told reporters. “Today the conditions out there were so difficult to play a fantastic match, the wind was very high. But in general terms I am very happy.”
The 20-year-old Korda, son of 1992 runner-up Petr, had enjoyed a dream run in his first Tour-level event on clay and was up against his idol – the man he named his cat after. If he was to stand any chance of making it at all competitive he needed a good start, and he will rue the fact that he lost the first two games despite having game points. Nadal, who needed nine minutes to hold serve in the first game, admitted that had been a crucial factor in ensuring this was a Sunday stroll.
“Qualifying for my first Grand Slam, winning my first tour-level match, and then playing Rafa on Chatrier in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, it`s a big blessing,” Korda said. “I learned a lot. The score wasn`t the closest, but I mean every game was pretty close.”
Sinner asked for a signed Rafa t-shirt right away after the match. “I mean i grew up watching him. It has been a dream”, he added.
Nadal will face unseeded Sinner in the last 8.