Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek on the way

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in men’s and Iga Swiatek in women’s reached the knockout stages of Roland-Garros on Saturday.

Three warm-up laps are over, the title race can really begin. Men’s Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and women’s Iga Swiatek arrived very calmly in the qualifying stages of Roland-Garros on Saturday, June 5th, while waiting for Roger Federer in the evening.

Nadal won his third game at the Porte d’Auteuil this year, setting a new record there: currently with 103 wins (for two losses), the Spaniard is the most prolific player ahead of Federer’s 102 wins at the same Grand Slam tournament. Australian Open (and 101 at Wimbledon). Djokovic’s personal best is 82 wins in Melbourne.

Djokovic and Nadal at cruising speed

Favorites at the top of the table joined in the second week and without eating a single set, while those at the bottom of the table are Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic walked across the Philippe-Chatrier court to beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (93rd) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in 1h32.

“I was tough, I made a lot of changes in the trades”, summing up the world’s #1 situation while softening the severity of the score: “It might have looked simple but it wasn’t. It was less hot today than Thursday, so the ball bounced less. But I was able to adapt.”

A finalist last year, the Serbian reached the last 16 at Roland-Garros for the twelfth consecutive time, representing a record in the Open era (since 1968). Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer stood eleven-eighth in a row on Paris soil between 2005 and 2015.

Djokovic, 34, aims to win his 19th Grand Slam title, close to the record length Nadal (35) and Federer (40 in August) had together.

© Pierre René-Worms

Nadal made a few mistakes on the Suzanne-Lenglen court (29 overall), which allowed Britain’s Cameron Norrie (45th) to not be completely defeated (6-3, 6-3, 6-3).

Number 3 of the world commented “Sometimes I played good tennis, sometimes I can do better”. “There are things I need to do better, but I have confidence in myself, I believe I can do it,” he warned.

As such, he remains more than ever a favorite for the 14th Paris coronation, which is synonymous with a record 21st Grand Slam title.

Djokovic and Nadal, who may face each other in the semi-finals this year, will play against two Italians, who are the rising stars of the circuit, on Monday with a chance to draw.

The Spaniard will face Jannik Sinner (19th) in the second round of the Rome Masters 1000 in May, which he defeated 7-5, 6-4 on his way to the 10th title. However, Nadal said, “What happens in Rome stays in Rome.”

The Serbian will play with Lorenzo Musetti (76th), who participated in his first Grand Slam tournament at the age of 19.

Theoretically, the winner of match 8 between Djokovic and Musetti could face Roger Federer for a place in the last quarter. The Swiss (8th) would play their third round match against German Dominik Koepfer (59th) in a night session on Saturday.

Swiatek express launched

Unexpectedly last year, the Polish student fell at age 19 and won his first Grand Slam title without losing a single set.

In other words, Swiatek, which celebrates its 20th birthday on Monday this year, is being watched.

And already, it has passed the first week at a pace comparable to last year without losing a single run. Altogether, Anett Kontaveit (31st) won 20 straight sets at Roland-Garros after a 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 win on Saturday.

“I’ve never been far from breaking that record,” he admitted.

However, after the packs of Naomi Osaka (2nd) and Simona Halep (3rd), as well as Ashleigh Barty’s (#1) abandonment and loss of Aryna Sabalenka (4th), the showing of the second set put Swiatek in the following It shows as: the favorite of the tournament.

No player has defended the title at Roland-Garros since Justine Hénin, who won three times in a row in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

with AFP

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