Nadal shows no sign of relinquishing King of Clay crown

Mon Jun 2, 2014 4:04pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - Concerns that Rafa Nadal's reign as king of Roland Garros might be in jeopardy due to an aching back proved wide of the mark on Monday as the world number one led a mini Spanish charge into the French Open quarter-finals.

On the day that Spanish King Juan Carlos abdicated his throne, there was no danger of his compatriot doing the same in Paris as the eight-times champion produced a 6-1 6-2 6-1 demolition job on Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

Next up will be a man who beat Nadal the last time they faced each other across a net - fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

Ferrer stalled Kevin Anderson's bid to become the first South African man in 47 years to reach the last eight of the claycourt major with a 6-3 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1 win.

The top half of the men's draw could have become an all-Spanish affair if Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and elastic-limbed Gael Monfils had not played spoilsport.

Seventh seed Murray and Fernando Verdasco walked out under sunny skies looking like clones - both kitted out in near identical canary yellow shirts and black shorts.

Both players turned the air blue during a heated third set but it was Murray who buzzed around Court Suzanne Lenglen, stinging Verdasco with vicious winners for a 6-4 7-5 7-6(3) triumph.

While the linecall dispute was over in a flash after Murray gamely conceded the point, Verdasco blamed umpire Pascal Maria for fanning the flames.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning his men's singles match against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 2, 2014.          REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier