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Rafael Nadal through to quarterfinals at French Open

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PARIS — Rafael Nadal eased into his record-equaling 11th quarterfinal at the French Open by swatting aside Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.

The nine-time champion matched Roger Federer’s Open era record for appearances in the last eight at Roland Garros. The fourth-seeded Spaniard next meets either No. 5 Milos Raonic of Canada or Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. They were still playing their fourth-round match when Nadal finished his in less than 2 hours.

Nadal secured victory on his third match point when he pushed Bautista Agut to the back of the court with a big forehand that his countryman could only pat back into the net at full stretch.

The 31-year-old Nadal is chasing his 15th Grand Slam title and first since 2014 – when he won at Roland Garros.

After losing the Australian Open final to Federer in a five-set thriller – and then twice more to Federer on hard courts – Nadal has been in fine form on clay, winning titles at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

The only player to have beaten Nadal on clay this season is Austrian Dominic Thiem – who was playing Argentine Horacio Zeballos later Sunday in a fourth-round match.

Meanwhile, No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki returned to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, eliminating 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

In remaining men’s third-round action, there were wins for No. 8 Kei Nishikori of Japan; No. 15 Gael Monfils of France and unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov.

Nishikori recovered to beat Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-6, 6-4; Monfils was leading 7-6 (5), 5-7, 4-3 against Richard Gasquet when his countryman retired after getting treatment on his right thigh.

Two weeks past his 21st birthday, Khachanov became the youngest man to reach the fourth round here since 2009, beating 21st-seeded John Isner – the last American man in the tournament – 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3).

In remaining women’s third-round matches, second-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic brushed aside Germany’s Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-1; No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won 6-4, 7-5 against Magda Linette, and Croatian qualifier Petra Martic upset 17th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-1.

‘Big 4’ given top 4 seedings at Wimbledon; Kerber also No. 1

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LONDON — The “Big 4” of men’s tennis were given the four highest seedings for this year’s tournament at Wimbledon.

No. 1-ranked Andy Murray, the defending champion, is the top-seeded player, followed by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal and Djokovic are also in the top four of the ATP rankings, but Federer is No. 5. Third-ranked Stan Wawrinka, who has won the other three Grand Slam titles but not Wimbledon, is seeded fifth.

Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev round out the top 10 in the seedings.

In the women’s seedings, Angelique Kerber is No. 1 in a list that mirrors the top-10 rankings. The only exception is the absence of No. 4-ranked Serena Williams, who is pregnant and skipping the tournament.

That means fifth-ranked Elina Svitolina is the fourth-seeded player at Wimbledon, behind Kerber, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova.

Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams complete the top 10 in the seedings.

Serena bares all in Vanity Fair cover shoot

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After accidentally revealing her pregnancy through Snapchat back in April, Serena Williams has not been shy about sharing her pregnancy with the public. In fact, Williams bares all in the cover of Vanity Fair’s August issue, wearing only the same waist chain she wore in that Snapchat.

The cover photo she tweeted Tuesday shows the tennis star’s full-body profile. Taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, the photographs of Williams’ baby bump are surrounded by earthly hues of grey and burnt orange. Her fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, stepped in for a couple photos, embracing his future wife.

As carefree as she looks in these pictures, Williams probably hasn’t been having the best week after tennis legend John McEnroe questioned her athleticism when compared to men. McEnroe said in an interview with NPR earlier this week that Williams – a 23-time Grand Slam singles winner –  would rank “like 700” on the men’s tour. When he came on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning, McEnroe stated his confusion over why his comment on Williams was a big deal: “Why is it always McEnroe that gets caught in the middle of this? It drives me crazy.”

Williams, an active Twitter user, responded to his comments:

Williams’ baby, which she has yet to find out the sex of, is due this fall.