Eranni dismisses Jankovic; Petkovic and Halep also in quarterfinals
Defending champion Rafa Nadal dismantled unseeded Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 on Monday to set up a French Open quarterfinal clash with fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in a repeat of last year's final.
Ferrer, the fifth seed, beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1 to reach his tenth consecutive last-eight place at a Grand Slam.
In the women’s event, battling Italian 10th seed Sara Errani survived an 81 minute first set to reach the last eight a 7-6(5), 6-2 win against Jelena Jankovic, the sixth seed from Serbia.
Errani will next take on Andrea Petkovic, who reached her fourth career Grand Slam quarterfinal when she outlasted Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the fourth round.
Later, Romania's Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the women’s singles draw, outwitted American 15th seed Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last eight.
Eight-times champion and world No.1 Nadal improved his Roland Garros win-loss record to a remarkable 63-1 to advance having not dropped a set in Paris this year.
World No. 83 Lajovic, who had not previously lost a set on his French Open debut, quickly went 5-0 down and never recovered, also losing the first four games of the second set to love.
“I think he played a great tournament,” Nadal said of his 23-year-old opponent,
“First time on this court (Philippe Chatrier) is never easy, the court is so big. I'm happy with the way I played today, I was able to control the points from the baseline, which is important for me.
“I look forward to playing against David (Ferrer), it is going to be a very difficult match,” added Nadal, who ended the masterclass on his first match point with a thumping forehand down the line.
Praise for Juan Carlos
Such was the ease of Nadal’s win that he spent most of his time at his post-match news conference discussing the abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
“He is a wonderful person who was a great representative of our country and Spain should thank him,” said Nadal. “I had the opportunity to meet him on quite a few occasions. He was always very nice and warm towards me. He made me feel very comfortable every time we met.”
Ferrer is one of three players who have beaten Nadal on his favoured clay this season, prevailing in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Ferrer had beaten Anderson, who was hoping to be the first South African man in the last eight since Cliff Drysdale in 1967, at the same stage of the tournament last year.
“Tactically, I will have to be perfect against Rafa,” said Ferrer. “I hope that I will instill some doubts in Rafa's mind. I will pull out all of the stops to play well without making errors, and we'll see what's gonna happen.”
Errani, the 2012 runner-up to Maria Sharapova, won a bitterly contested first set that lasted 1hr 21min and saw eight breaks of serve, four from each player.
The 27-year-old from Bologna took control in the tie-break leading 5-2 before sealing the opening frame 7-5.
Jankovic, the former world No.1 and three-time semifinalist in Paris, appeared to lose heart in the second set as Errani raced into a 3-0 lead. She then staved off a brief Jankovic comeback to close out the match on her second match point.
Petkovic, who came to Roland Garros last year ranked 136 but is now back at 27, failed to get through qualifying on her last trip to Paris, and has endured back, ankle and knee injuries which almost dropped her out of the top 200.
It was also a spell of form which pushed her to the brink of quitting last year. However, now she is enjoying her finest season since 2011 when she reached the last eight in Australia, Paris and at the US Open.
US challenge ends
Stephens made too many unforced errors and Halep, the fourth seed, worked the angles to unsettle the American.
Halep, who made her only previous Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at this year's Australian Open, prevailed on the first match point when Stephens, the last American in the women's singles, sent a forehand long.
The 22--old Halep can climb to third in the world if she reaches the final on Saturday where she can become the first Romanian to win the title since Virginia Ruzici in 1978.
Men: Singles: Fourth round: 1-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Dusan Lajovic (Srb) 6-1, 6-2, 6-1; 5-David Ferrer (Esp) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(5-7), 6-1.
8-Milos Raonic (Can) bt Marcel Granollers (Esp) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; 2-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt 13-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Marin Draganja (Cro) & Florin Mergea (Rou) beat 3-Daniel Nestor (Can) & Nenad Zimonjic (Srb) 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(5); 12- Marcel Granollers & Marc Lopez (Esp) bt 1-Bob & Mike Bryan (USA) 6-4, 6-2.
Women: Singles: Fourth round: 4-Simona Halep (Rou) bt 15-Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-4, 6-3; 10-Sara Errani (Italy) bt 6-Jelena Jankovic (Srb) 7-6(5), 6-2.
28-Andrea Petkovic (Ger) bt Kiki Bertens (Ned) 1-6, 6-2, 7-5; Garbine Muguruza (Esp) bt Pauline Parmentier (Fra) 6-4, 6-2; 7-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt 19-Samantha Stosur (Aus) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Mixed doubles: Quarterfinals: Timea Babos (Hun) & Eric Butorac (USA) bt Alize Cornet (Fra) & Jonathan Eysseric (Fra) 6-4, 6-3.