Nadal in quarter-finals after apologetically thrashing his opponent

RAFAEL Nadal won 17 games in a row to reach the quarter- finals of the French Open – and then apologised to his opponent for the one-sided score line.

The defending champion’s 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Juan Monaco means he lost only 19 games in his first four matches, the fewest at Roland Garros since Guillermo Vilas in 1982. Nadal said: “When I had the first break, I started to play very well. Before, I didn’t play fantastic, but he started the match playing aggressive, playing good shots. In my opinion, he was unlucky in the first set. That’s my feeling, 6-2 was too much. Later, for sure I was very happy the way I played. I feel very, very sorry for him.” Nadal now meets 12th seed Nicolas Almagro, who is also yet to lose a set. He knocked out eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals for the third time in five years and hailed the victory as one of his best. Almagro said: “I think I played great tennis today. The day was a little bit cloudy, but now it’s really sunny for me. That win is one of the best moments of my career.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vowed to “fight like a lion” against world No 1 Novak Djokovic today after battling his way into the last eight for the first time. The entertaining Frenchman was back on court this afternoon against Stanislas Wawrinka after darkness forced an end to play on Sunday night with Tsonga 4-2 up in the fifth. Wawrinka immediately retrieved the break but Tsonga struck again with the Swiss player serving to stay in the match to clinch a 6-4 7-6 (8/6) 3-6 3-6 6-4 victory.

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Looking ahead to the clash with Djokovic, who recovered from two sets down to beat Andreas Seppi on Sunday, he said: “It’s going to be a very difficult match. But I’ll fight like a lion and we’ll see the result.”

The match between Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych was also suspended after the Argentine won the third set, and he picked up where he had left off on Sunday to win 7-6 (8/6) 1-6 6-3 7-5 and set up a rematch with Roger Federer.

The ninth seed again had his left knee heavily taped, but he said: “It is not a hindrance. It doesn’t bother me. If I lose this match I cannot say it is because of my knee.”

Sixth seed David Ferrer has been the most impressive player apart from Nadal and he had another comfortable victory, outclassing fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-2 6-0, to move through to a meeting with Andy Murray.