Paris: Roger Federer made short work of Argentinian Leonardo Mayer to become the oldest man in 28 years to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open on Sunday, while Rafael Nadal claimed his 90th Roland Garros win.
The 37-year-old Federer, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, claimed a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over world number 68 Mayer in a sweltering 32 degrees and will face either Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas or close friend and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the last eight. Federer, the 2009 champion in Paris, is the oldest man to make the quarter-finals of a Slam since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.
“It’s fabulous that I can spend this time in Paris,” said Federer who last played the tournament in 2015 when he lost in the quarter-finals to Wawrinka. Tsitsipas defeated Federer in the last 16 of the Australian Open in January. “I was prepared for the worst scenario, losing in the first round in three sets. But I am super happy with my performance. I will need to play like this again against either Stan or Tsitsipas.”
Federer will be playing in his 54th quarter-final at a Slam, cementing his place on top of the all-time men’s list. Despite leading Wawrinka 23-3 in career head-to-head meetings, Federer said he still remembers his quarter-final loss to his friend in Paris four years ago. “I have a bad memory of it. Stan beat me in three sets with his terrible shorts!” Federer didn’t face a break point in the fourth-round match against an outclassed Mayer on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Reigning champion Nadal continued his bid for a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title by beating Grand Slam debutant Juan Ignacio Londero 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. World number 78 Londero had his moments, breaking Nadal when 4-1 down in the third set, but the 17-time major champion always looked too strong, powering 40 winners past the Argentinian.
Nadal will face either Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori or home favourite Benoit Paire in his 38th Grand Slam quarter-final. “I am very happy. Juan is a very good player so I congratulate him and his team,” said Nadal. “It’s an incredible feeling to be in another quarter-final at this tournament which has been the most special of my career.”
The 32-year-old Spaniard has only been defeated twice in his French Open career and has a 10-2 record over Nishikori while he has yet to lose to Paire in four matches. In a wide-open women’s draw after the shock exits of top seed Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Saturday, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova reached her maiden major quarter-final by thrashing Anastasija Sevastova. The unseeded Czech, ranked 38th, overcame a tame effort from Latvian 12th seed Sevastova, winning 6-2, 6-0 in only 59 minutes.
“You can’t expect you’re going to play quarter-finals in a Grand Slam, but I played some tough matches,” said Vondrousova. “I’m just happy with my game.” She will face 31st seed Petra Martic for a semi-final spot after the Croatian followed up her third-round upset of second seed Karolina Pliskova by coming from a set down to beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi. The 28-year-old booked her place in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory.