Rafael Nadal is through to his 15th Roland Garros quarter-finals from 17 trips to Paris, staying on the course towards the 21st Major crown and the 14th at his beloved tournament. Nadal and Djokovic are the only players in history with 15 appearances in the last eight at Roland Garros, and Rafa turned the previous 14 into 13 titles, losing only one match after passing the first four rounds at the clay Major!
Previously reaching at least 15 quarter-finals in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome, Nadal has become the second player with at least four tournaments with 15 quarter-finals, joining Roger Federer, who achieved that at Wimbledon, Halle, Basel and the Australian Open.
Since the start of the Open era in 1968, only four players have reached at least 15 quarter-finals at a single tournament, with Jimmy Connors (US Open) and Novak Djokovic (Rome and Roland Garros) joining Federer and Nadal in the exclusive group.
Rafael Nadal joined Federer on 15 quarter-finals at four different tournaments.
All four players have achieved 15 quarter-finals at a Major event, and it will be tough for others to repeat that feat in the future. Nadal kicked off his 17th Roland Garros campaign with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 triumph over Alexei Popyrin, playing well in the opening two sets before falling 5-2 behind in the third.
Rafa saved two set points and erased the deficit to prevail in the tie break and move into the next round. Facing Richard Gasquet for the 17th time, Rafa scored the 17th win over his coeval after standing strong in sets one and three.
Gasquet fought back in the second, but it wasn't enough to reach the tie break and extend his chances. In his shortest match of this year's Roland Garros campaign so far, Nadal ousted Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to find himself in the fourth round.
Rafa lost serve twice in a row in the second set and erased that deficit quickly with a strong performance on the return, taking almost half of the return points and securing six breaks from 12 opportunities. The Spaniard had the upper hand in the shortest and most extended exchanges and fired nearly 30 winners to rule the court.
In the fourth round, Rafa took down Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3 6-0, overcoming a deficit in the opener and never looking back to race past the youngster for the second straight year in Paris.