PARIS: Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal stormed into a French Open quarterfinals showdown against compatriot David Ferrer on Monday while Andy Murray will face childhood friend Gael Monfils, France’s last man standing.
With rock star Prince in the stands and the abdication of King Juan Carlos on his mind, world number one Nadal, who turns 28 on Tuesday, brushed aside outclassed Dusan Lajovic, the world 83 from Serbia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
He was at his ruthless, efficient best against Lajovic who claimed a paltry 15 points off the champion’s serve.
Watched by US rocker Prince, who played a concert in the French capital on Sunday night, Nadal, seeking to become the first man to win five French Opens in a row, needed just 93 minutes to go through to a last-eight showdown with Ferrer.
British seventh seed Murray defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) to reach the quarterfinals for the fourth time.
Wimbledon champion Murray, whose best run in Paris was a semi-final spot in 2011, will face French 23rd seed Monfils after extending his record over Verdasco to 10-1.
“I’m looking forward to the next match with Gael, it should be a great atmosphere,” said Murray of a rivalry which began when the two were children playing in Les Petits As tournament in the French town of Tarbres.
“I first played Gael when I was 10 and he was 11. He’s an unbelievable entertainer and fun to watch,” said Murray.
Monfils reached his fourth Roland Garros quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the man who put out third-seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.