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.

Linette keeps getting better; into Australian Open semis

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Two days after advancing to her first Grand Slam tournament quarterfinal, unseeded Magda Linette went one better and is into the Australian Open semifinals.

The 30-year-old Linette beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5, adding the former No. 1 to the list of top players she has beaten at Melbourne Park during this tournament.

Linette, who had lost seven of nine previous matches against Pliskova, had defeated Anett Kontaveit, Ekaterina Alexandrova and WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in successive rounds.

A player from Poland was favored to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but it was top-seeded Iga Swiatek that everyone would have expected – and not Linette.

“It’s so emotional I can’t really believe it,” Linette said. “I tried to stay composed and took my chances when I could.”

Linette will play No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka, who beat unseeded Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 in a later quarterfinal. The women’s semifinals are scheduled for Thursday night.

Vekic, who had 13 double faults against Sabalenka, had a succinct appraisal of her serve: “I mean, it was all over the place. But I think mostly in the net.”

The other women’s semifinalists were determined on Tuesday. Two-time former Australian champion Victoria Azarenka will play Wimbledon titleholder Elena Rybakina for a chance to play in Saturday night’s final. Rybakina beat Swiatek in the fourth round.

Later Wednesday, the remaining men’s semifinalists will be determined. Unseeded Americans Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul play before nine-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic will be looking to qualify for his 44th Grand Slam semifinal and a win in that match on Friday would advance him on Sunday night to his 33rd major singles final.

The other men’s semifinal on Friday will see third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas play Karen Khachanov.

Rybakina rules in Australian Open quarterfinal vs. Ostapenko

Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
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MELBOURNE, Australia – Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The match on Rod Laver Arena featured a rare rain delay of about 20 minutes while the roof was closed. Rybakina led 3-1 and was holding a break point before the delay. On return, Ostapenko saved the first break point, but Rybakina broke on her next opportunity to go up 4-1 and won the first set 6-2.

In the second set, Ostapenko was up a break but Rybakina leveled with a break of her own. It came on her first break point when Ostapenko had been unable to convert four in the previous game.

Rybakina, who beat top-seeded Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, set up match points with aces, both of which were saved by Ostapenko. But she clinched the match with another ace, her 11th of the match and a tournament-leading 35 overall.

“I was nervous in the last game, but I managed my emotions and played very well.” Rybakina said. “The conditions were different after the roof was closed. But it can happen here, you never know, on the morning one weather and later it changes.”

Rybakina will play the winner of the night quarterfinal between American Jessica Pegula, at No. 3 the highest women’s seed remaining, and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

In men’s quarterfinals, 22-year-old American Sebastian Korda played the next match at Rod Laver Arena against No. 18-seeded Karen Khachanov. In a night quarterfinal, third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Jiri Lehecka. The winners of those matches will play each other in the semifinals on Friday.