World No.1 Rafael Nadal of Spain on Monday defeated Maximilian Marterer of Germany 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), earning his career’s 900th win and advancing to the French Open quarter-finals.
Nadal, who turned 32 on Sunday, needed two hours and 30 minutes to get rid of Marterer, world No. 70, setting up a quarter-final clash with Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. The 10-time French Open champion got his 224th Grand Slam win, surpassing Jimmy Connors of the US, but is still far behind record-holder Roger Federer of Switzerland (332) and second-placed Novak Djokovic of Serbia (244).
He also tied Djokovic’s record for the most quarter-finals appearances at Ronald Garros, reaching that stage for the 12th time. Nadal extended his straight-set winning streak at the French Open to 37, just four sets shy of the record set by Sweden’s Bjorn Borg. But that streak seemed to be in danger, as Nadal conceded his service game in the early stages of the first and third sets, but managed to keep his momentum.
Debutant Marterer stormed into a 2-0 lead in the first set, but Nadal turned up the heat, winning five straight games, and went on to clinch the set. Nadal continued to build momentum in the second set, racking up a 2-0 lead and earning one more service break at 4-2 to double his lead. Marterer, however, broke Nadal’s serve for 3-1 in the third set, but Nadal restored order, drawing level at 3-3.
The set then went with serve, heading to a tiebreak that Nadal won through superior consistency in the key moments.