The 12-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal has remained on course for the 20th Major crown, beating Sebastian Korda in Paris's fourth round. The Spaniard is through to his 14th Roland Garros quarter-final from 16 appearances, playing on a high level and never losing a set in the first four encounters.
After beating one youngster who made a debut in Paris this year, Rafa will face another one in two days, battling against the 19-year-old and the first-time Major quarter-finalist Jannik Sinner. The Spaniard said he is thrilled to advance into the last eight at his beloved Major again, 15 years after doing that on his debut in 2005.
Also, Nadal knows it will not be easy to beat the next opponent, hoping to prepare the right tactics and enjoy another good run. In the fourth round on Sunday, Rafa toppled a qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes, earning the 97th victory in Paris.
The Spaniard fended off five out of six break chances to mount the pressure on a qualifier, delivering eight breaks from 11 opportunities to seal the deal in under two hours. Unlike the previous matches, Nadal struggled with the first serve efficiency in the opener, facing two break points at the beginning of the encounter.
He erased them with service winners, bringing the game home after four deuces and bypassing an early setback. Korda netted a backhand in his first service game to suffer an instant break before Nadal closed the third with a volley winner at the net for a 3-0 advantage.
Losing ground after a promising start, Sebastian hit a double fault to experience another break, allowing Rafa to forge a 5-0 lead with a forehand winner. The American held at love with a service winner to add his name on the scoreboard before Nadal held after deuce for 6-1 in 37 minutes.
Rafael Nadal will face Jannik Sinner in Roland Garros quarter-final.
Korda sprayed a forehand error to get broken in the first game of the second set, with Rafa bringing the second game home at 15 to increase the advantage.
Sebastian forced an error from world no. 2 in the third game to grab the first and only game of the set, taking two points on the next game's return but losing it after netting a backhand. The youngster sent a backhand wide to fall 4-1 behind, serving to stay in the set following a hold at 15 from Nadal.
The Spaniard clinched another break following a forehand mistake from his opponent, moving 6-1, 6-1 up after 69 minutes. Korda grabbed a break in the third set's first game, holding after two deuces to settle into a nice rhythm and extend his chances.
Shifting into a higher gear, Nadal grabbed every remaining game, bouncing back in style and sailing into the quarters. He pulled the break back in game four, held at love and broke at love to forge a 4-2 advantage. Facing two break points in game seven, Nadal repelled both and sealed the deal with the third straight break a few minutes later that propelled him into the quarters.
"I'm happy to be back in the quarters here in Paris, with another tough match coming in two days," Rafael Nadal said.