David Ferrer’s quiet progress through the rounds at Roland Garros continued on Monday as the world number six put compatriot Marcel Granollers to the sword on Court Philippe Chatrier to seal his third appearance in the quarterfinals of the French Open.
Ferrer ceded just five games in a thumping 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 victory, taking full advantage of Granollers’ misfiring second serve to hit 41 winners while breaking the world number 24 six times in a nimble 111-minute victory. “Beyond doubt this is my best Roland Garros and I feel very comfortable,” said Ferrer, whose statistics this year are only marginally bettered by those of Rafa Nadal, who is enjoying his best numbers at the tournament. “I have to push on. I will try to make the semifinals.”
The Valencian has been in such form that his third-round opponent, Mikhail Youzhny, wrote the word “sorry” in the Parisian clay with his shoe as he was steamrollered by Ferrer, who has previously lost in the quarters in 2005 and 2008. After the match Ferrer left his own message, “Happy Birthday,” on the courtside camera’s lens. Asked if it was for Nadal, who turned 26 on Sunday, he smiled: “I like Rafa very much, but not that much. It’s my fiancée’s birthday.”
Ferrer will have to overcome fourth seed Andy Murray in order to reach the last four in Paris for the first time, where he will play one of Nadal or Nicolás Almagro, who also reached the last eight without dropping a set when he defeated world number eight Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“He’s the man on clay, and we are trying to be close to him. We are working hard to do our best,” said Almagro, who was in chirpy mood after his win. “It’s a dream to win a Grand Slam and I will fight for it. I’d like to win all four every year but right now I’d like to win Paris.”
Later on Monday Nadal ensured his place in the quarterfinals with a crushing 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 victory over 13th seed Juan Mónaco, equaling Björn Borg’s 49 French Open wins in the process. The world number two, bidding to relieve the Swede of the joint-record number of French Open titles this year, took just 106 minutes to blast Mónaco from the court. The Argentinean in fact led at 2-1 in the first set before Nadal reeled off 17 straight games to put Mónaco out of his misery on his first match point opportunity.
In four matches in Paris so far, Nadal has given up just 19 games. Almagro will have to play the game of his life to defeat the reigning champion but Nadal will at least be given a stiff test by the 12th seed. The pair has met seven times before, with Nadal victorious on each occasion.
If Ferrer reaches the semifinal he can at least take heart from a victory over the world number two on clay — in Stuttgart in 2004. Murray holds a 5-4 career record on Ferrer but has never bettered the Spaniard on the dirt.