- Nadal Sets Birthday Date With Djokovic (via ATP World Tour)
The Spaniard continued his quest for a 10th crown at the clay-court major with a 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Jack Sock in just under three hours on Monday evening. It was his 70th match win at the Grand Slam championship in the French capital.
The “King of Clay,” who will turn 29 on Wednesday, will also be joined in the quarterfinals by Roger Federer, Andy Murray and top-ranked Novak Djokovic after all three had little trouble with their fourth-round matches. As for a birthday present? That would come in the form of a matchup with Djokovic, who breezed to a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Richard Gasquet.
- Rafa Wears Out Sock To Set Up Novak Quarter (via Roland Garros)
“He’s by far the best player in the world. He’s brimming with confidence; he has exceptional form. He’s won almost all the matches since the start of the year. He has only two defeats. I love Roland Garros. I love the tournament. I love the courts. I will pull out all the stops to win the match. I feel competitive. I will fight to the bitter end. I don’t know if it will be enough. I don’t read a crystal ball. So if I play well and if my opponent plays better than me, I will shake hands and congratulate and then I will move on.”
- It’s on: Djokovic vs. Nadal in French Open quarterfinals (via AP/tennis.com)
From the moment the French Open draw was made more than a week ago, this is the match the tennis world has been awaiting: No. 1 Novak Djokovic against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal. Except instead of the final, Wednesday’s blockbuster will come in the quarterfinals. ”The match that everybody anticipated or expected,” Djokovic said. ”I’m not used to playing him that early, but that’s the reality and that’s a challenge that both of us have to accept.”
- Novak Djokovic Keeps Date With Rafael Nadal in French Open Quarterfinals (via New York Times)
“Novak today is the best player in the world,” Nadal said. “He’s coming in here without losing almost any matches this season. To have any chance against him, I know I have to play my real best tennis, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
He is moving better than he’s moved this entire year. He is clearly at home on the clay. The best-of-five format gives him margin for error and a greater chance to play himself out of rough patches. That’s the good news. … There’s no question Nadal’schances have been bolstered by his play these first rounds. And his businesslike approach—no real drama, no taxing matches—will help ensure that he is fresh. But is he ready for the world No. 1, who’s simply been steamrolling? And has been prepping for this match all year? Bring on Wednesday…..
- Five Questions to Ponder about a Djokovic-Nadal Quarterfinal (via Tennis Now)
Christmas never comes early but for tennis fans—particularly those who love crushed red brick and long, slow rallies—something even better does. That something will come this Wednesday when Rafael Nadal andNovak Djokovic meet in the quarterfinal that should be a final at Roland Garros.
- Rewind: Rafael Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005 (via USA Today)
Nadal in 2005 was a kid on the rise with a fast-kicking lefty forehand and expectation to be something special. He had won all three clay-court leadup tournaments, in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. “We wanted to win,” said Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and coach, in an interview with USA TODAY Sports. “If you ask me before the beginning of the tournament (that year), ‘Do you want (Rafael) to make the final?’ No. I wanted him to win. I believed that. Rafael was the best player on clay in that moment.”
- French Open fashion: Bright is in (via ESPN)
Rafael Nadal could probably pass for a member of the Blue Man Group with his full-body blue getup.
- Rafael Nadal beats Jack Sock to reach French Open quarter-finals
- Snapshots from Day 9 at the French Open (via SI.com)
- Men’s 4R – Nadal v. Sock (via Roland Garros)