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September 22, 2017

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Nadal reaches Roland Garros quarterfinals

PARIS--Rafael Nadal won a record 32nd straight match at the French Open on Monday, beating Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.

Nadal is an eight-time French Open champion with a 63-1 record on the red clay in Paris. But his only loss came in the fourth round in 2009, when he was a four-time defending champion for the first time.

Another upset never seemed possible this time, despite complaints of pain in his back that slowed his serves in the previous round.

Playing on Court Philippe Chatrier, Nadals's favorite court in the world, the top-seeded Spaniard controlled the match from the start. He then won 17 straight points to open the second set, taking a 4-0 lead before finally sending a backhand wide to make it 15-15 in the fifth game.

Federer Battling History as Age Takes Its Toll

Roger Federer surveyed the wreckage of his worst French Open in 10 years and despite his optimism that a record eighth Wimbledon title is within his grasp, history and time are conspiring against him.

In the immediate aftermath of his 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Ernests Gulbis, which was his earliest loss in Paris since 2004 when he was demolished in the third round by Gustavo Kuerten, Federer was talking a good game if not necessarily playing one.

Victory on Sunday would have put him into a record 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final and 10th in a row in Paris.

Instead, it was the wild-haired, outspoken Gulbis, seven years his junior, who had become the latest likely lad to puncture the Swiss legend.

Once again, even the brief grasscourt season, squeezed between the European claycourt stretch and the hardcourt swing through North America, appears to no longer be the safe haven it was once.

"For every match you can't necessarily explain why you lost. Sometimes you're more disappointed; sometimes less," said Federer whose appearances in Paris are yielding steadily diminishing returns.

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