Relentless Novak Djokovic motored on Monday at the French Open, setting a record as the first man to reach 10 straight quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
The Serb pounded out a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 decision over German Jan-Lennard Struff in 93 minutes as the top seed sets his sights on winning a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title.
Djokovic will be playing his 13th overall Paris quarter-final and his 44th at a major.
Djokovic advanced with 31 winners and a mere dozen unforced errors in the command performance.
“I’m satisfied so far with my game. I’ve reached the quarter-finals and played as close to my best tennis on clay as I think I can at the moment,” Djokovic said.
“I’m really pleased with every aspect of my game. Everything is coming together beautifully.
“I’m motivated to fight for the trophy, that’s why I’m here. But it’s still a long way to go.”
Lining up against the world No. 1 will be fifth seed Alexander Zverev, who duplicated his best Grand Slam performance by reaching a second consecutive quarter-final here.
The German outlasted Monte Carlo winner Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(5) after almost three hours.
Zverev becomes the eighth German man in the Open Era to reach multiple Grand Slam quarter-finals.
“I didn’t start well and he did. He played very aggressive, hitting the ball very hard, which made it difficult,” the winner, who avenged a loss to Fognini in Monte Carlo, said.
“But then after first set, I played three very good sets. Very solid from my part. I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals now.”
2018 runner-up Dominic Thiem rolled over France’s Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and three-quarters, a win which included a spectacular backward tweener which landed good.
The Austrian fourth seed came to Paris after winning the Barcelona title and remains a serious title threat as the fortnight enters the second week.
Thiem broke five times while losing his own serve only once.
“It’s always still a pretty special thing to come to the second week, and of course even more special to win the quarter-finals,” he said.
“It’s the best stage of the Grand Slam, it’s an amazing thing, and I think it never gets old or I’m never getting used to it. It’s a really good thing.”
Russian Karen Khachanov defeated Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and will next play Thiem.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori will take on Rafael Nadal – who turned 33 on Monday – after breaking French hearts with a defeat of Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7(8), 6-2, 6-7(8), 7-5 in a shade under four hours.
Asia’s top player repeated the five-set win he earned here a year ago over the heavily bearded Paire, who could be mistaken for a Brookyln craft brewmaster with a tennis racquet.
Nishikori’s 57 unforced errors outweighed his 38 winners in a wildly fluctuating victory in which the seventh seed broke 10 times form 19 chances.
Play had been suspended the night before for bad light.
Nadal, bidding for a record 12th trophy at his favourite clay playground, has gone through so far without the loss of a set as he rampages through the draw. He has won 10 of 12 matches against Nishikori.
“It’s not gonna be easy. He’s the best player on the clay. But I’ll try to do my best,” the Asian said. Nishikori was glad to escape with a fightback in the fifth set against the quirky Paire.
“I’m just happy to win today, he almost had the match, serving for it 5-3.”
“I played much better starting then, playing more aggressive, using my forehand. I lost the fourth set when I had match point, but somehow I lost it. Mentally it was not easy after that tiebreak.”
Defending champion Simona Halep made sure that upset lightning did not strike twice as she crushed Polish outsider Iga Swiatek 6-1, 6-0 for a place in the French Open quarter-finals on Monday.
The Roland Garros third seed avoided any hint of difficulties after losing to another player ranked outside the Top 100 last autumn in Beijing, where she went down to No. 118 Ons Jabeur ansd retired with a back injury.
In Paris Halep was on her game, grabbing the opening set in 24 minutes and keeping up the pressure on the No. 104 in the second to escape after a light workout on the showcase Chatrier court.
“I consider the best match here, I played really well, and actually maybe she was a little bit nervous playing on that court,” the Romanian said.
“She’s very young. I expected a very tough one. So I was ready for that, but it was much better than I thought.
“To play against someone 10 years younger than me, that’s not easy.”
“They’re young, they have nothing to lose, so every match is tough.” The entire rout lasted for just 45 minutes, with Halep hardly tested.
“I wasn’t playing my game. I had a problem with just putting the ball in court,” Swiagek said.
“I guess that was because of stress and lack of experience, but it’s natural.
“This was a good experience for me – I’ll remember that match. I’ll learn from it even though it lasted, like, 40 minutes.”
Swiatek, who turned 18 at the weekend, missed out on becoming the second teenager in the quarters alongside Czech Marketa Vondrousova.
The next opponent for Halep will be another under-20. American 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova earned her place in a quarter-final at a major, hammering Spain’s No. 137 qualifier Aliona Bolsova 6-3, 6-0.
2018 semi-finalist Madison Keys maintained her torrid pace at the Grand Slams with a 6-4, 6-4 thrashing of Czech Katerina Siniakova as the American reached the second week for the sixth time in the last seven majors.
Keys advanced into a showdown with rising Australian Ash Barty, winner of two of the pair’s three previous matches including a February Fed Cup tie.
Barty booked her spot in the last eight by bringing American Sofia Kenin back to earth 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 48 hours after the youngster knocked out a listless and error-prone Serena Williams.
The eighth-ranked Barty is breaking new ground in Paris, having never been past the third round.
The Aussie was glad to be putting her Paris past behind her: “I played her here a few years ago in a match I would love to forget. It’s very much a fresh, clean slate from this match.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me to go out there and try and play my brand of tennis again, and take it to her (Keys) as much as I can.
“She’s obviously had really good success here in the past.”
Though Keys she played the 2017 US Open final and has three additional grand Slam semi-final appearances in addition to this week in Paris, she is taking nothing for granted on the big stage.
“It’s a special and stressful and an experience every single time,” she said, “It’s definitely something that I’m happy that I’ve gotten through to fourth rounds and quarter-finals now a couple times now. But it never, never feels routine.
“I’ve obviously had some success. I’m happy with a lot of the achievements that I have had in my career – but I still have a lot of goals and things that I want to accomplish.”
The 42nd-ranked Siniakova, who stunned world No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the previous round, said she never found her rhythm.
“I didn’t feel so solid in this match. I was really under pressure and maybe I was trying to do (uncomfortable) things.
“When she was a set up, she started play even more aggressive and she was more confident.”