Rafael Nadal moves closer to Roger Federer after passing Jimmy Connors



by   |  VIEW 24090

Rafael Nadal moves closer to Roger Federer after passing Jimmy Connors

Since the beginning of the Open era, only four players have managed to reach 40 Major quarter-finals. The first one was Jimmy Connors, staying competitive for almost two decades, despite drawing "only" eight titles from 41 appearances in the last eight.

Roger Federer matched the American and moved further away, standing on 57 and keeping his closest opponents behind. Novak Djokovic will try to reach the 47th quarter-final on Monday at Roland Garros, with Rafael Nadal already advancing into the last eight on Sunday, following a win over Sebastian Korda.

Nadal is through to his 42nd Major quarter-final from 60 tournaments played, passing Jimmy Connors to stand third on this list. Nadal's 14th Roland Garros quarter-final and 11th consecutive at Majors came after a 6-1, 6-1 6-2 win over the young American in an hour and 55 minutes.

The Spaniard saved five out of six break chances to mount the pressure on a qualifier, securing eight breaks from 11 opportunities to march into the quarters without losing a set. Rafa fended off two break chances in the first game with service winners, bringing it home after four deuces to avoid an early setback.

Korda netted a backhand to find himself 2-0 down, with Nadal securing the third game with a volley winner at the net for a 3-0 advantage. Losing ground after a promising start, Sebastian hit a double fault to lose serve again in game four, allowing Rafa to forge a 5-0 lead with a forehand winner.

The American held at love with a service winner to finally add his name on the scoreboard before Nadal held after deuce for 6-1 in 37 minutes. Korda sprayed a forehand error to get broken in the first game of the second set, with Rafa confirming the lead with a hold at 15.

Sebastian forced a mistake from Rafa in the third game to grab the only game of the set, taking two points on the return in the next one but losing it after netting a backhand.

Rafael Nadal became the third player with 42 Major quarter-finals.

The youngster sent another backhand wide to suffer a break in game five, serving to stay in the set following a hold at 15 from Nadal.

The Spaniard clinched another break thanks to a forehand mistake from his opponent, moving 6-1, 6-1 up after 69 minutes. With nothing to lose, Korda grabbed a break in the first game of the third set, holding after two deuces to settle into a nice rhythm and extend his chances.

Shifting into a higher gear, Nadal claimed every game by the end of the clash, bouncing back in style and sailing into the quarters. Rafa pulled the break back in game four, held at love and broke at love to forge a 4-2 advantage. Facing two break points at 5-1, Nadal repelled both and sealed the deal with the third straight break in game eight.