PARIS (Reuters) - Holder Rafa Nadal extended his streak of consecutive completed sets won at the French Open to 37 as he thrashed Maximilian Marterer 6-3 6-2 7-6(4) to storm into the quarter-finals in Paris for a 12th time.
Only Bjorn Borg (41) has a longer streak and world number one Nadal, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday, looks primed to go past the Swede’s record.
American Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament shortly before she was due on court to face Maria Sharapova in a highly-anticipated fourth-round match.
The 36-year-old 23-times Grand Slam winner, returning to the game after maternity leave this year, was unable to play due to a pectoral muscle injury.
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza also advanced after her Ukrainian opponent Lesia Tsurenko retired two games into their match. The third seed is seeking a second title in Paris after her 2016 success and takes on twice champion Sharapova next.
Argentine Diego Schwartzman produced a remarkable fightback from two sets down to overcome South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6(0) 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old Schwartzman, who faces Nadal next, was joined in the last eight by compatriot Juan Martin Del Potro who eased past American John Isner 6-4 6-4 6-4.
Up next for Del Potro is Marin Cilic who saw off a late comeback by Italian Fabio Fognini to win 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-7(4) 6-3.
Highlights from day nine of the French Open tennis championships on Monday (times GMT):
Third seed Marin Cilic survived an almighty scare before overcoming Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-7(4) 6-3 in a marathon match lasting three hours and 37 minutes.
Cilic fired eight aces and hit 44 winners to quell the battling Italian and advance to the quarter-finals.
“I was so frustrated on some occasions,” Cilic said. “A lot of opportunities and just missing some balls. It was not easy to keep going. It was a lot of ups and downs but I was really satisfied at the end with the way I was fighting.”
Third seed Garbine Muguruza advanced to the quarter-finals after her Ukrainian opponent Lesia Tsurenko was unable to continue because of a leg injury. Tsurenko was trailing 2-0 in the opening set of their last-16 match.
In the next round, Muguruza faces an equally fresh Maria Sharapova, who came through after Serena Williams pulled out before the start of their fourth-round match because of a pectoral muscle injury.
Juan Martin del Potro joined fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over American ninth seed John Isner.
The last time Argentina had more than one player in the men’s quarter-finals of Roland Garros was in 2005 when Guillermo Canas and Mariano Puerta advanced to the last eight. Puerta lost to eventual winner Rafa Nadal in the final that year.
Del Potro takes on third seed Marin Cilic in the next round.
World number one Rafa Nadal, who is seeking a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros, said he was targeting many more years at the top after a swift fourth round victory over Maximilian Marterer on Monday.
“I don’t feel old... but I am 32 and I am here around since 2003, so it’s a long way, a lot of years,” Nadal, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, said.
“I started very young. That’s a real thing. But, no, I feel happy to be here. Being honest, I am enjoying the day by day on the tour and I hope to keep doing this for a while.”
Two-times Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber swatted aside local favourite Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-3 to storm into the quarter-finals. The German next faces top seed Simona Halep.
Kerber and Halep have met nine times previously on the WTA Tour, with the Romanian winning five of those matches, including their last meeting at the semi-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year.
1344 NADAL MOVES INTO QUARTER-FINALS
Top seed Rafa Nadal, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday, had plenty of reasons to continue his celebrations after a straight-sets victory over Maximilian Marterer.
World number one Nadal faced a stern test from the German in the third set but was equal to the task as he advanced with a 6-3 6-2 7-6(4) victory in two hours and 30 minutes.
Serena Williams pulled out of the French Open with a pectoral muscle injury, shortly before her fourth round match against Maria Sharapova.
Williams has played only a handful of matches since returning from maternity leave this year, but the three-times Roland Garros champion had looked sharp in her hunt for a 24th Grand Slam title.
“Unfortunately I’m having some issues with my pec muscle. Right now I can’t actually serve. It’s kind of hard to play,” she told a news conference.
Diego Schwartzman fought back from two sets down to defeat Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6(0) 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the first time in his career. The Argentine prevailed in three hours and 51 minutes.
Daria Kasatkina swiftly dispatched Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki on Monday to move into the quarter-finals. The Russian, who led the second-seeded Dane by a set and 3-3 when play was called off on Sunday, won the first three games to seal a 7-6(5) 6-3 win.
World number one Simona Halep cruised to a 6-2 6-1 victory over Belgian Elise Mertens in the fourth round on Monday to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open for a second consecutive year.
The top seed shows no signs of slowing down and will face either German Angelique Kerber or France’s Caroline Garcia in the last eight.
Compiled by Aditi Prakash and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru,; Editing by Ed Osmond