Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Sebastian Korda in the fourth round of the French Open. (Michel Euler)
Paris – A whirlwind against the Parisian wind. That was the Spanish Rafael Nadal who achieved this Sunday the pass to the Roland Garros quarterfinals for the fourteenth (14) time in his career, after defeating the American Sebastian Korda, 213 in the world, from the previous phase, by 6-1 , 6-1 and 6-2.
In a match that lasted 1 hour and 55 minutes , he had no mercy for the American Korda, son of the 1992 Roland Garros finalist and winner of the Australian Open six years later, who in the previous days had assured that he admired Nadal so much that He christened his cat “Rafa”.
“It was a good game against a very difficult player, he is a great player with a great future. The conditions were very difficult with so much wind, but I am very happy to be back in the quarterfinals, ” said the Spaniard on the track.
The world number 2, who has only lost two duels on the clay of Paris, was forceful on a sunnier day in the French capital, but with cold and a lot of wind, which bothered both players.
As long as the thermometer did not exceed 13 degrees (55.4 ° F), the gusty wind reduced the wind chill.
In search of his thirteenth (13) title at Roland Garros, his twentieth (20) Grand Slam, which would equal him with the Swiss Roger Federer, Nadal is showing a very high level, in the first year he arrived in Paris without having previously won no title on the land tour.
The Spaniard will play his 42 Grand Slam quarterfinals, beating the American Jummy Connors and is five from Serbian Novak Djokovic and 15 from Federer.
For now, Nadal has not crossed his racket with any rival that allows him to measure his true state. In four games, he has lost only 23 games.
His victory number 97 on the Parisian clay will not serve as a test either, because the young Korda, 20, proved to be very tender for a match of that demand and fought worse than the Spanish against the wind that in several phases of the match swirled the track brick dust.
It was not as intense as the one in last year's semi-final against Federer, but at times it forced the players to turn their faces to prevent their eyes from filling with sand.
Also in these conditions, Nadal reigned on clay, very confident with his game, adapting to adverse conditions as he has been doing in this cloudy Roland Garros, displaced to autumn by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spanish steamroller did not give the young American respite, who seemed to be living in torment, between Rafa's scratches and the wind, far from the idyll he had dreamed of against his hero.
Korda made 48 errors and only at the beginning of the third set Nadal lowered the piston and let one of his services escape, the second he has lost so far in the tournament. The 2-0 in favor was nothing more than a mirage, because the American did not win more games.
Nadal will face the winner of the duel between German Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed, and the surprising Italian Jannik Sinner, the youngest of the team, who at 19 years old is looking to become Roland's youngest quarter-finalist. Garros since Nadal in 2005.
With good feelings
After achieving his pass, Nadal assured that his feelings “are getting better” , although he pointed out that the weather conditions are still difficult, as the wind added to the cold.
“ Things continue with a complicated climate . But when the tournament progresses my feelings get better, I feel more confident and that shows in training. I face it with the utmost enthusiasm to face the quarter-finals, ”Nadal said.
“I'm in the quarterfinals without losing a single set, I can't complain,” added the Spaniard, who nevertheless said that “it was very windy,” which complicates the game.
To this was added, according to his story, that for the first time in this edition the sun came out, which makes a part of the track remain in shadow with the new structure of the Philippe Chatrier track, a difference with respect to its 12 titles previous.
“But my speech has not changed nor will it change, I will be with all my senses one hundred percent to give myself the best possible conditions to win the tournament,” he said.
“It has been a very positive week, I have won four games without suffering much, the level of play has been quite good. But a complicated part of the tournament is coming, I hope to be well, I have the maximum predetermination to give my maximum and be one hundred percent competitive, “he said.
The Spanish did not downplay what has been achieved so far, although the rivals were not very important.
“Reaching the quarterfinals, even if we take it for granted, is not that easy. This year is on a positive path, but it is going to get complicated, “he said.
Nadal sent a message of encouragement to the Swiss Roger Federer, who has just shown his intention to be back for the next Australian Open and with whom he said he has regular contact.
“I have talked to him a lot these months. I know he is better and I hope he comes back as soon as possible. We do not have 10 years of Federer left and it is not good to have out he is one of the greatest icons of our sport. Being on the track is good for everyone, “he said.