Defending champion Rafael Nadal continued his strong run at Roland Garros 2021 with a straight-sets victory over Jannik Sinner on Monday. Nadal wrapped up the fourth-round encounter in two hours and 20 minutes, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
The Spaniard has now won 35 straight sets at Roland Garros. The last time he lost a set in Paris was to Dominic Thiem in the 2019 final.
Considering that astounding statistic, it's not surprising that Rafael Nadal was asked during his post-match press conference whether he always looks to finish matches quickly in Paris. But the humble character that he is, the 35-year-old dismissed any such suggestions.
"I'm focused on trying to win, rather than win quickly; I am not that arrogant. I have full respect for every opponent," Nadal said. "I do what I can in every moment. Of course, if I can win quicker, it's better. But today I had a player who's having a great season. I went on court knowing it could be a tough match. I am happy to win in straight sets. I did what I had to do."
With the win over Jannik Sinner, Rafael Nadal has reached his 15th quarterfinal in Paris. He's lost after this stage only once in his career.
Rafael Nadal praises Jannik Sinner, says he has "big shots"
Rafael Nadal further reiterated that he had entered the match fully aware of the challenge Jannik Sinner could pose. The Spaniard admitted he couldn't afford to make too many errors against the talented Italian teenager.
"He is young, he is improving every week," said Nadal. "He has big shots. I needed to be solid and aggressive. I can't make too many mistakes (against someone like him). I knew it was the fourth round - you can't expect an easy opponent at that stage."
The 35-year-old acknowledged that he slipped up a couple of times in the match, but also pointed out that he quickly regained control and capitalized on the bigger moments.
"I had a bad game with 2-0 and with the wind helping, so that was a big mistake," Nadal said. "Then I started to play too much against his backhand and too far from the baseline. I gave him the chance to be inside the court and to have control of the point from inside. From that position he's dangerous. I was a little bit farther every time from the baseline."
"From that moment [at 4-5 in the first set] to 7-5, 4-0 [in the second] I think I played a very good level of tennis," he added. "Then again, [I made a] couple of mistakes and he played well, honestly. [From] 4-3 until that moment to the end of the match, I think I played great."
Rafael Nadal faces Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
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