Rafael Nadal said he doesn’t “feel old”, after moving a step closer to an incredible 11th French Open title on Monday by beating German Maximilian Marterer to reach the quarter-finals the day after his 32nd birthday.
The world number one’s 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over the world number 70 was his 900th win at tour level.
It also saw him equal the record of 12 last-eight appearances at Roland Garros, which was set by Novak Djokovic the day before.
Top seed Nadal, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, is now on his own in third on the all-time list for most match wins at Grand Slam events with 234 victories after passing Jimmy Connors.
“I don’t feel old. But I am 32, and I have been here since 2003, so it’s a long way, a lot of years,” he said.
“I started very young. That’s a real thing. But, no, I feel happy to be here. Being honest, I am enjoying the day by day on the tour and I hope to keep doing this for a while.”
Nadal powered 39 winners past Marterer, who pushed the Spaniard as hard as he could without ever threatening an upset.
He will face Argentinian Diego Schwartzman for a semi-final spot, after the 11th seed staged a thrilling comeback to down sixth seed Kevin Anderson 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(0), 6-2.
“It’s always good to see him in the quarter-final because he’s a good friend, a good person. He’s a worker, and I’m happy to see him having all this success. Hopefully not too much (though),” smiled Nadal, who had a brief practice session with Schwartzman last week.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion has now won 37 consecutive sets at Roland Garros, just four short of Bjorn Borg’s record set between 1979 and 1981.
Scroll.in is an independent website covering news, politics, sports, culture and everything in between. Get the latest news, reportage, analysis and commentary …