Rafa issues ominous French Open warning
RAFAEL Nadal has sent an ominous warning to his French Open rivals, declaring his Roland Garros reign is far from drawing to a close.
"I am enjoying the day by day on the tour and I hope to keep doing this for a while," Nadal said after belatedly celebrating his 32nd birthday with a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-4) fourth-round victory over rising German star Maximilian Marterer.
"I don't feel myself old. But I am 32, and I am here around since 2003, so it's a long way, a lot of years.
"But, no, I feel happy to be here."
The victory, which earned a meeting with his close friend Diego Schwartzman, was the 10-time champion's 900th career winner and 83rd from 85 matches at Roland Garros.
Advancing to his 12th quarter-final here, equalling Novak Djokovic's grand slam record, Nadal said he was taking nothing for granted.
"I never like to be arrogant at all," he said. "I don't want to have an answer that looks like this.
"But being honest, I won 11 Monte Carlos, 11 Barcelonas, eight Romes, so it's about the surface, not only the place."
Nadal's latest triumph, his 234th at a major, also moved the Spaniard past Jimmy Connors into outright third place for most wins at a grand slam behind Roger Federer (332) and Djokovic (244).Schwartzman, who recently trained with Nadal at the Mallorcan's academy, rallied to upstage South African sixth seed Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-0) 6-2.
The Argentine complained to chair umpire Marijana Veljovic about the behaviour of members of Anderson's support box, insisting post-match Anderson himself was not crossing the brinkmanship line.
It was a claim which appeared to contradict his mid-match whingeing.
"I never see something like this. No matter if he played a good point or if I do a bad choice, he's always saying something. Come on, shut up," Schwartzman said to Veljovic.
"It's not respect. You have to have some respect for the (other) players because when I miss the ball, be quiet.
"Not every point saying 'come on, yeah, yeah, come on. Shut up."
Nadal or Schwartzman will play either Marin Cilic or Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals.
Del Potro swept into his first Roland Garros quarter-final in six years with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat of big-serving American ninth seed John Isner.
Cilic survived combustible Italian Fabio Fognini in a fiery five-setter.