Djokovic, Nishikori, Halep into French quarter-finals

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Novak Djokovic is into his record 10th consecutive French Open quarter-final after beating 45th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Djokovic is yet to really be challenged this year at Roland Garros and hasn’t lost a set.

Extending his grand slam winning streak to 25 matches and closing in on a fourth championship in a row, Djokovic was dominant again in the fourth round on Monday,

“Everything is coming together beautifully. I’m motivated to fight for the trophy, yes. I mean, that’s why I’m here,” said Djokovic, who owns 15 slam titles, including one in Paris. “But it’s still a long way to go.”

 

It’s helped, certainly, that the No.1-ranked Djokovic has not needed to deal with a single seeded foe yet. That will change now as he faces No.5 Alexander Zverev for a spot in the semi-finals.

Djokovic and Zverev have split four previous tour meetings.

Zverev reached his second successive quarter-final in Paris by coming back to eliminate Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

He’s only 22, but Zverev has been touted as a future champion for quite some time.

He’s yet to play in a major semi-final, though, and mentioned on Monday that he enjoyed getting to be a bit under the radar so far in this French Open, noting that 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, the sixth seed, was a subject of more focus until losing in the fourth round to Stan Wawrinka.

“For me,” Zverev said, “it was actually quite a nice thing that not all of the attention … is only going towards my way.”

Number one seed Novak Djokovic wasted little time as he advanced in straight sets, while Kei Nishikori needed all five to take down Benoit Paire.

The other quarter-final in their half of the draw on Wednesday will be No.4-seed Dominic Thiem against No.10 Karen Khachanov, who got past 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to make it to the final eight for the first time at a major.

Thiem advanced by eliminating the last Frenchman in the field, Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. A man from the host country hasn’t won the French Open since Yannick Noah in 1983.

Rain is forecast for Tuesday, when the men’s quarter-finals will be Roger Federer against Wawrinka, and Nadal taking on Kei Nishikori, who completed his two-day 6-2, 6-7 (7-8), 6-2, 6-7 (7-8), 7-5 fourth-round victory over Benoit Paire of France.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Simona Halep continued to tighten her grip on the tournament as she demolished Polish teenager Iga Swiatek to reach the quarter-finals.

The Romanian, who claimed her first grand slam title on the Parisian clay a year ago, has taken a while to hit her stride this time and was taken to three sets in the first two rounds.

Since then, however, the 27-year-old has looked in superb form, dropping four games in her last two matches.

“I can’t say I feel bad [for my opponent], because I played my best tennis,” Halep said after a 6-1, 6-0 win that set up a quarter-final against American teenager Amanda Anisimova.

Of the top eight women’s seeds, only Halep, No.7 Sloane Stephens and eighth seed Ashleigh Barty, who beat Sofia Kenin 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, have reached the quarter-finals.

With Anisimova beating Spain’s Aliona Bolsova, three American women have reached the last eight.

“I can’t describe how excited I am,” Anisimova said of her upcoming clash with Halep. “I couldn’t ask for a better match-up. I’m just extremely happy and excited for the next round.”