ATP Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal tops Jannik Sinner to follow Novak Djokovic

The 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal took down Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and 17 minutes to advance into the 15th quarter-final in Paris from 17 appearances. Nadal fired 31 winners and 30 unforced errors to leave the youngster behind, suffering four breaks but taking 60% of the return points to claim nine breaks and control the scoreboard from 3-5 in the opener. Rafa had a massive advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, taking power off his opponent and looking good on the court to set the Diego Schwartzman clash. Jannik made over 20 unforced errors in the opening set, and he still fought well to open a 5-3 advantage. Like in Rome, Rafa produced a comeback to take four straight games, steal the set, and gain momentum. Nadal held at love with an ace in the opening game and secured a break in the next one when Sinner sent a forehand wide.

Rafael Nadal defeated Jannik Sinner for the third time in as many matches.

In the third game, the Spaniard netted an easy backhand to get broken and lose ground before Sinner broke him again at 2-2 to move in front for the first time. The Italian saved a break point at 3-2 and opened a 5-3 advantage, moving closer to clinch the opener. Rafa broke back at love at 4-5 when Jannik hit a double fault, and a boost switched to his side and carried him towards another return game at 6-5 and secure the opener after an hour. Riding on that wave, the Spaniard claimed the opening four games of set number two to build a massive advantage.

Sinner pulled one break after Nadal’s double fault in game five and moved back to 3-4 with another break in game seven following a backhand crosscourt winner at the net. Starting all over, Rafa grabbed a break in game eight when his rival sprayed a backhand mistake and closed the set with a service winner at 5-3 for a massive advantage. Jannik had nothing more left in the tank in the third set, dropping all six games to end his run in the fourth round and keep Rafa on the title course. Nadal hasn’t lost a set in Paris since the 2019 final against Dominic Thiem, rattling off 35 sets in a row to extend his dominance and keep dreaming about the 14th Parisian title.