Paris - Nine-time
champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic will set up
a French Open semi-final blockbuster if they get through their
last-eight clashes on Wednesday after rain caused their scheduled
clashes to be cancelled on Tuesday.
World number one Andy Murray faces Kei Nishikori while 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka takes on Marin Cilic.
A preview OF the four matches:
Djokovic the master of Thiem
Novak Djokovic hopes
his fledgling partnership Andre Agassi can inspire the Serb back to his
very best. Agassi has left Paris already, but the defending champion is
firmly in the hunt for a 13th Grand Slam title. Aside from a third-round
wobble against Diego Schwartzman, it's largely been plain sailing for
Djokovic to this stage. Dominic Thiem remains the only player to beat
Rafael Nadal on clay this season, but the Austrian's shock win at the
Rome Masters was swiftly followed by a 6-1, 6-0 humiliation against
Djokovic. The 30-year-old has dropped just one set in five meetings with
Thiem and brushed aside the Austrian with ease in last year's Roland
Garros semi-finals. Thiem has motored through the first four rounds to
reach just his second Grand Slam quarter-final, but the challenge is
about to get much tougher for one of the game's rising stars.
Nadal takes on Spanish pal
Rafael Nadal has dropped
just 20 games in four rounds at Roland Garros as he inches smoothly
towards a 10th title. The 31-year-old Spaniard faces compatriot and
close friend Pablo Carreno Busta, the 20th seed, who has never made it
this far at a Slam in his career. Nadal is in a record-equalling 11th
quarter-final at Roland Garros and 31st at all the majors. Carreno Busta
downed fifth seed Milos Raonic on a seventh match point in the last-16.
Nadal has won all three meetings with 25-year-old Carreno Busta, two of
which came on clay in Rio in 2015 and 2016.
Thanks for the memories as Murray faces Nishikori
Murray, runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2016, takes on Japanese eighth
seed Nishikori, boasting a formidable record of eight wins against just
two defeats. Murray won their only meeting on clay in straight sets in
Madrid in 2015. After stuttering starts in Paris, not helped by a
lingering fever, the 30-year-old was impressive in straight sets wins
over Juan Martin del Potro and Karen Khachanov, ending the Russian's
serving streak of 48 games held in the process. Nishikori knocked Murray
out of the US Open in a five-set quarter-final last year but insisted
he couldn't remember it. Nishikori, bidding to make the semi-finals for
the first time, has endured a topsy-turvy French Open, needing five sets
to beat Hyeon Chung and four against Fernando Verdasco. In both
matches, he suffered 6-0 'bagels'. He is playing in a seventh
quarter-final at the majors, a record for a Japanese man. No stranger to
clay-court success with back-to-back titles in Barcelona in 2014 and
Wawrinka kryptonite to confident Cilic
has scarcely been tested in reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros
for the first time, but he's rarely fared well against Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss star, crowned French Open champion two years ago, heads into
their latest showdown on a seven-match winning streak against the Croat.
Wawrinka has prevailed all five times they've played on clay, including
a 2008 clash in Paris. The third seed hasn't dropped a set either in
making the last eight for the third straight year and is full of
confidence after arriving in the French capital fresh off his first
title of the season in Geneva. Cilic's US Open triumph in 2014 is one of
just five Grand Slam tournaments since the 2005 Australian Open not won
by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray. Wawrinka
accounts for three of the other four along with Juan Martin del Potro's
2009 victory in New York. Cilic also downed Milos Raonic to claim last
month's Istanbul Open, just the second clay-court title of his career.