Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nadal rolls past Lajovich in French Open

Rafael Nadal celebrates a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Dusan Lajovic, his record 32nd consecutive win at the French Open.

Associated Press

Rafael Nadal celebrates a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Dusan Lajovic, his record 32nd consecutive win at the French Open.

PARIS — Maybe, just maybe, Rafael Nadal was a tad vulnerable, the thinking went before this French Open.

He had lost three times on his beloved red clay already this year, more defeats than he ever had on the surface before heading to Roland Garros.

Then came an admission, after the third round, that his back was bothering him and slowing his serves.

Well, leave it to the eight-time French Open champion's upcoming quarterfinal opponent — 2013 runner-up David Ferrer, one of the men who beat Nadal on clay this spring — to set the record straight.

"Rafael," Ferrer said, "is always the favorite."

Nadal looked the part in the fourth round Monday, when he won 18 points in a row during one stretch en route to beating 83rd-ranked Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 for a record 32nd consecutive victory at the French Open. That broke his own mark of 31 and moved him closer to a fifth straight title in Paris.

The No. 1-ranked Nadal, now 63-1 for his career at the tournament, has won all 12 sets he has played in Paris in 2014, dropping a total of 23 games. He was asked whether he preferred a more taxing encounter by now.

"You never know what's better," he said. "But, in theory, the theory says that it's better (to) win like this than win longer matches."

And his back? The one that flummoxed him during a loss in the Australian Open final in January, and acted up Saturday, leading to an average first serve of 102 mph and top speed of 114? It didn't appear to be much of an issue against Lajovic: Nadal averaged 107 mph, with a high of 119.

"My back can be pretty unpredictable," said Nadal, who wore thick vertical strips of athletic tape under his shirt. "I'm not lying. It's totally unpredictable. I don't want to speak too much about it."

No. 7 Andy Murray beat No. 24 Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). In a wild third set, Verdasco held to get within 4-3 with an apparent service winner, but chair umpire Pascal Maria said that point should be replayed because a line judge called the ball out. Verdasco shouted "Are you kidding me?" and wanted a supervisor to intervene — until Murray conceded the point.

No. 28 Andrea Petkovic's 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory over 148th-ranked Kiki Bertens was the only three-setter for women, with 77 unforced errors and 14 service breaks. Afterward, Petkovic conducted a news conference sprinkled with references to Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus.

notable: Defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan lost in the men's doubles quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2 to the 12th-seeded duo of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez. The Bryan twins, who were seeded No. 1, have failed to reach the final at the last three Grand Slam tournaments after winning four major titles in a row before that, starting at the 2012 U.S. Open. … Sloane Stephens lost to fourth-seeded Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round, leaving no American singles players in the tournament. The 15th-seeded Stephens made 35 unforced errors, 10 more than Halep, and was broken six of nine times.

Nadal rolls past Lajovich in French Open 06/02/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 7:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant

    Last season: 28-4

    This week: Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

    Plant High outside hitter Camryn Vogler (1) hits the ball over the net past St. Thomas Aquinas outside hitter Kirsten Klos (10) during the Class 8A state volleyball final between Plant High and St. Thomas Aquinas at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. St. Thomas beat Plant High 3-0.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Key roster battles

    Bucs

    Greg Auman looks ahead to tonight's third episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," and talks about key roster battles that could shift with the Bucs' third preseason game Saturday night against the Browns on our …

    Bucs running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) is hit by middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) while running the ball during training camp. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Rays series preview: Who are the Blue Jays?

    Blogs

    Last week, the Rays faced the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre, dropping three of four. This week, they'll play three games at Tropicana Field. Here's the information you need to know about Toronto before the action kicks off.

    Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit four home runs in as many games against the Rays last week.
  4. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...

    Bucs

    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. 5 miles and a lot of emotion between Sickles, Alonso

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — From one campus to another, the distance between Sickles and Alonso high schools is 5.4 miles.

    New Alonso coach Reggie Crume spent three years at Palm Harbor University, so he knows a little something about neighborhood rivalries. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)