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Rafael Nadal took his chance to equal Roger Federer's haul of 20 grand slams by winning the French Open on Sunday.

The Spaniard demolished Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 in the final at Roland Garros for his 13th French Open title and 20th major success, tying the record held by Federer for most won by a man.

Nadal has dominated in Paris and he did so once more despite some questions heading into the tournament.

The 34-year-old capitalised on a dream run – one of the easiest of his career at grand slams.

Nadal brushed aside Egor Gerasimov, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefano Travaglia, Sebastian Korda, Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman before meeting Djokovic.

But you can only beat what is in front of you. We take a look at how the opponents compare to his previous major wins.

Dream run opens up

While Nadal is almost unstoppable at Roland Garros, he was playing just his second tournament back from the coronavirus-enforced break.

There were perhaps meant to be a few trickier early encounters, but Fabio Fognini, Kei Nishikori and John Isner, who almost stunned Nadal at the French Open in 2011, fell early.

It seemed Nadal's biggest test to reach the final would be Dominic Thiem in the semis, but the in-form Schwartzman stunned the Austrian in the last eight.

The average ranking of Nadal's opponents at this year's tournament was 99.4. Only at Roland Garros in 2010 (116.6) has that figure been higher on his way to grand slam success.

But 10 years ago, he faced wildcard Gianni Mina – then ranked 655th in the world – in the first round, skewing that number. The median ranking of opponents he met this year was 75, which is the highest number of any of his major successes, eclipsing the 2017 US Open (59).

It meant Nadal faced just two top-50 players in Paris in Djokovic and Schwartzman, the same as at Flushing Meadows three years ago. The Spaniard's highest-ranked opponent on his way to that US Open title was world number 28 Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals before he crushed Kevin Anderson in the decider.

Nadal can only beat what he is presented, but none of Federer and Djokovic's grand slams have been won after defeating only two top-50 players.

Capitalising on the opportunity

Somehow, despite a French Open win-loss record that he improved to 100-2 in 2020, there were still questions over Nadal heading into a tournament he has owned. Had he had enough match practice? How would the colder weather impact him?

With the draw softened, Nadal claimed the trophy without dropping a set for the fourth time in his career, following on from 2008, 2010 and 2017. They are the four occasions he has won a major without losing a set.

In fact, he lost just 53 games. Only twice has he lost fewer – at the 2017 French Open (35) and 2008 French Open (41) – on his way to a grand slam title.

It may have been an easier passage, but Nadal again showed why he is the 'King of Clay'.

Rafael Nadal is unsure whether he will play again this year as he basks in the "beautiful" feeling of sharing the record for men's grand slam singles titles with Roger Federer.

Nadal produced another masterclass at Roland Garros on Sunday, beating old foe Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to win his favourite tournament for an astonishing 13th time.

The Spanish great also moved level with Federer's tally of 20 major triumphs, outclassing world number one Djokovic in Paris.

Nadal skipped the US Open, as he was not comfortable travelling to New York amid the coronavirus pandemic, before making his return to the ATP Tour in Rome in September following an absence of seven months.

The 34-year-old will soon turn his attention to deciding when he will next be in action, following another sublime performance on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Novak Djokovic insists he had no fitness complaints during the French Open final and simply lost to a "perfect" performance from Rafael Nadal.

World number one Djokovic lost a completed match for the first time this year as he remarkably went down 6-0 6-2 7-5.

Nadal dominated Sunday's match to claim his 13th Roland Garros title and 20th grand slam championship in total, equalling Roger Federer's record.

Djokovic had been battling neck and shoulder issues in the quarter-finals earlier in the week, wearing tape, repeatedly stretching out his left arm and also receiving treatment as he beat Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Serbian had no desire to look for excuses against Nadal, though, and instead paid tribute to his opponent.

"No, no, I was fine. Everything was okay," Djokovic told a news conference. "I was ready for this match.

"It's just that I was outplayed. I was beaten by a guy who was just perfect today - especially the first two sets. That's all there is to it.

"I will absolutely not find any other justification for this loss. He was just better.

"Straight-sets victory, yeah. It's a grand slam final, but playing Rafa on clay, you play Rafa, who is playing the way he's playing, it's tough to get a set off him.

"I thought third set was a chance, but I just didn't use it."

Despite Nadal's incredible record at the French Open, where he has not lost in more than five years, Djokovic admits he was surprised by his standard.

"I felt well throughout the entire tournament. I thought I was in a great form," he said. "Certainly I could have played better, especially in the first two sets.

"But he did surprise me with the way he was playing, the quality of tennis he was producing, the level. He's phenomenal."

Roger Federer hopes both he and Rafael Nadal can kick on from 20 grand slam titles after the Spaniard joined his rival on the landmark number.

Federer has long led the way for men's singles championships, yet a two-year drought allowed Nadal to close the gap.

The world number two then won the French Open final on Sunday against Novak Djokovic - a dominant 6-0 6-2 7-5 success - to match Federer's record tally.

It was a 13th triumph at Roland Garros, too, and Federer said he was only too happy to welcome Nadal to the top of the standings.

"I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion," Federer wrote in a message posted to his Twitter page.

"As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players. Therefore, it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th grand slam victory.

"It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.

"I also congratulate his team, because nobody can do this alone.

"I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us. Well done, Rafa. You deserve it."

Federer will end 2020 without winning an ATP Tour event as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Rafael Nadal brushed away talk of his record-equalling haul of grand slam triumphs as he focused on his Roland Garros "love story" after another French Open win.

Nadal thrashed world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to match Roger Federer's total of 20 men's singles titles at the tennis majors.

It was the Spaniard's 13th success on the red clay of Paris, raising his own benchmark further, and his long relationship with the crowd in France was at the forefront of the champion's mind.

"To win here means everything to me," Nadal said. "It's not the moment - honestly not for me - to think about the 20th, equalling Roger or this great number.

"For me, today is just a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me.

"I spent the most important moments of my tennis career here. I just want to say thank you very, very much to everybody here.

"For me, just to play here is a true inspiration. The love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable."

So dominant was Nadal's latest win on Court Philippe-Chatrier that he apologised to rival Djokovic, who had not lost a completed match up to this point in 2020.

"Congrats to Novak for another great tournament," Nadal said. "Sorry for today. In Australia, he killed me a couple of times ago. Today was for me.

"That's part of the game. We've played plenty of times together - one day one wins, another day the other. So all the best for the future, Novak."

Djokovic acknowledged he had been completely outclassed.

"I want to say a huge congratulations to Rafa and your team and your family, of course," the top seed said in his post-final speech.

"What you are doing on this court is unbelievable - but not just this court. Throughout your entire career, you've been a great champion.

"Today you showed why you're king of the clay. I experienced it with my own skin.

"It was a very tough match for me today - obviously I am not so pleased with the way I played - but I was definitely outplayed by a better player today on the court."

Rafael Nadal equalled Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam men's singles titles with his latest stunning French Open victory over Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Nadal's remarkable record of Roland Garros success continued courtesy of an astonishing 6-0 6-2 7-5 win against the world number one on Philippe Chatrier.

Thirteen of the Spaniard's major triumphs have come on the red clay in Paris, where he has lost only twice - never in a final and not at all since the last eight in 2015 against Djokovic.

A 999th top-level victory and 100th at this event never looked to be in doubt as Nadal seized control from the outset to win the French Open without dropping a set across the tournament for the fourth time.

This was just Djokovic's second defeat of the season but came in a far more clinical manner than the first, when he was defaulted from the US Open for striking a line judge with the ball.

Djokovic - a 17-time grand slam champion - had swiftly sought to put Nadal to work with a series of drop shots, but the defending champion responded in typically masterful fashion and raced into a two-break lead in the opener.

Although the sort of brave defence so often associated with Djokovic was again on display, prompting some staggering rallies, he could not make significant progress against the Nadal serve and subsequently collapsed from 40-0 up on his own.

The Serbian deserved better than a first-set bagel - the first in a men's major final since 2006 - yet soon trailed again in the second, sending a tired forehand into the net at the end of another draining game.

Djokovic puffed out his cheeks as Nadal refused to relent, breaking once more and coasting through the remainder of another straightforward set to bring the Musketeers' Cup firmly into view.

The top seed dug in at the start of the third and even quickly recovered to level the set after a meek break to love granted Nadal complete command.

Djokovic's renewed resilience briefly kept his opponent at bay, but a contentious double-fault proved the decisive blow and Nadal served out the championship to love with an ace to match Federer, a man five years his senior who has not won an ATP Tour event in 2020 and continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Margaret Court's overall record of 24 singles major championships is surely now in the king of clay's sights.


Data Slam: Stunning start sets the tone

For much of the 48-minute opening set, Djokovic gave as good as he got. But Nadal dominated in key areas - Djokovic's first serve was at 42 per cent, while he won just three of 18 short rallies - to result in a one-sided scoreline. Only twice has this rivalry produced a 6-0 set, the other coming as Nadal also raced into a lead in last year's Internazionali d'Italia final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 31/14
Djokovic – 38/52

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 4/1
Djokovic – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/18
Djokovic – 1/5

Rafael Nadal dominated Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 in the French Open final on Sunday to tie Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam titles.

Novak Djokovic is relishing what he believes could be the biggest challenge in sport of facing his "greatest rival" Rafael Nadal in the French Open final on Sunday.

Top seed Djokovic overcame a Stefanos Tsitsipas fightback to win the second semi-final 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 at Roland Garros on Friday after Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman in straight sets.

The world number one will do battle with 12-time French Open champion Nadal in a mouth-watering clash of the titans on Court Philippe-Chatrier this weekend.

Djokovic has won 29 of the 55 meetings between two of the all-time greats, while the Serb and Robin Soderling are the only players to have beaten the Spaniard in the Paris grand slam.

Nadal has never lost a final at a major he has dominated, and Djokovic is well aware of the size of the challenge he will face when he attempts to deny the 'King of Clay' a record-equalling 20th grand slam triumph.

Djokovic, a winner of 17 majors but only one at Roland Garros in 2016, said in his on-court interview: "It's his [Nadal's] home. And with all the titles he's won. But I remember I beat him in the quarter-finals in 2015.

"I hope to recover. It's the biggest challenge, perhaps in sport, to play Nadal here at Roland Garros but I am motivated to win."

Asked to elaborate on those comments in his news conference, Djokovic replied: "Well, isn't it obvious? He won this tournament so many times that I don't think any player has won that many times any tournament.

"He's lost twice in his entire career on this court. Obviously the conditions are different than the ones that we are used to playing in May and June. I think that could be a better chance for me, obviously the ball not bouncing as high over the shoulder as he likes it usually.

"Regardless of the conditions, he's still there, he's Rafa, he's in the final and we're playing on clay. Best-of-five playing him in the finals at Roland Garros, I know that feeling. I did lose to him on this court most of the matches that we played, but I also won one match in 2015 in straight sets in quarters.

"That's the match that I'll look back at and obviously try to take some positives out of it and use it tactically against him. I'm not feeling exhausted physically so much after tonight's match, obviously almost four hours. It was a great battle.

"But I feel fine. I think a day and a half will be plenty of time for me to recover. I'm really looking forward to a great battle with Rafa."

Djokovic added: "I've played him more than I played any other player in my professional career. I think our head-to-head is the biggest head-to-head ever in the history of the sport.

"He's definitely my greatest rival. Playing him in so many great matches, of course the past will have some effect in terms of respect towards each other, I guess motivation to get out on the court and play your best, knowing that we both have to be at our best in order to win against each other.

"So I think that's where the past will play its offensive line. Not more than that, to be honest, because I think we are both experienced enough to really approach matches like this focusing only what is ahead of us."

Rafael Nadal's history with Novak Djokovic makes Sunday's French Open final between the pair a mouth-watering prospect, but the Spaniard insists his focus will be on bringing his 'A' game.

Djokovic is one of only two players to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros and he awaits in a dream Paris showdown after the pair came through their semi-finals - the latter after a five-set slog with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal, who was up first and beat Diego Schwartzman to advance to his 13th French Open final, spoke ahead of Djokovic's win.

Asked if his previous run-ins with the Serbian would play a part in this weekend's tussle, Nadal said: "I don't think so. Different circumstances, different kind of tournament and different situation. I don't know. 

"I will let you know on Sunday. I can't predict the future. The only thing I know is to play against Novak, I need to play my best. 

"Without playing my best tennis, the situation is very difficult. I know that is a court that I have been playing well for such a long time, so that helps. 

"But at the same time, he has an amazing record here, too, being in the final rounds almost every single time. He is one of the toughest opponents possible. 

"I am here to keep trying my best. I like to play in this scenario. I know I have to make a step forward. I think I did one today. 

"But for Sunday it is not enough. I need to make another one. That's what I'm looking for. I'm going to work hard to try to make that happen."

Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final after battling past Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets.

With the upper-body issues that hampered his quarter-final win over Pablo Carreno Busta apparently behind him, the world number one still had to dig deep in Friday's semi-final to see off Tsitsipas, who had won 27 matches this year and had looked imperious against Andrey Rublev in the previous round.

Tsitsipas rallied from match point down in the third set to force Djokovic to go the distance in his quest to reach a first grand slam final, but the 17-time major winner wrestled momentum back to claim a 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 victory.

The 33-year-old, who is 216-1 in grand slam matches after winning the first two sets, eventually completed the job after three hours and 54 minutes as he set up a meeting with old foe Nadal in what will be his 27th major final.

Djokovic saved four break points in the opening game before moving 4-1 ahead and again held off a stern challenge on serve to make it 5-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The 2016 champion's drop shot appeared on point, with two more in game nine helping him close out the opening set despite one or two loose groundstrokes.

Tsitsipas was arguably playing the better tennis by the early stages of the second set, but it was Djokovic who was producing the goods at the key points. Some remarkable defensive work and a brilliant cross-court backhand winner saw him set up just his second break point after trailing 0-40, and he took it when Tsitsipas skied a forehand after a net cord.

He consolidated to move 4-2 ahead and got the double break when Tsitsipas swung a forehand into the tramlines, serving out the set with back-to-back aces to assume control of the match.

Djokovic had match point on serve at 5-4 in the third but Tsitsipas suddenly struck back, at last getting a break of his own and then snatching the set with a ferocious forehand that clipped the baseline.

By now, it was Tsitsipas who was under siege on serve and Djokovic who could not make the breakthrough. He saw 10 break points come and go before sending a drop shot into the net at set point down as the contest entered an unlikely decider.

Djokovic at last broke the resistance early in the fifth, a dead-eyed drop shot and then a strangely errant service game from Tsitsipas giving the Serbian a double break. A third match point proved enough for the number one seed, a downcast Tsitsipas watching a second serve slapped beyond his reach.

Rafael Nadal advanced to his 13th French Open final as he maintained his perfect record in the last four at Roland Garros with a straight-sets victory over Diego Schwartzman.

The Spaniard had never been beaten in the semi-finals of the clay-court grand slam, which he has won a record 12 times, though Schwartzman was the only man to have defeated him on his favoured surface this year.

Any hopes of a repeat of the Argentine's win in Rome last month were soon dashed, though, as Schwartzman failed to hold in the first two games of an opening set that went on for over an hour before Nadal emerged victorious.

The world number two was just as dominant in the next set and, despite a topsy-turvy third, Nadal won 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-0) to leave him one win from a record-equalling 20th grand slam.

Schwartzman had a break point on two occasions in Nadal's opening game but, after 14 minutes, the second seed held and soon moved 2-0 up.

Another break of serve then followed, but Nadal again hit back and went on to seize the set at the third time of asking.

Schwartzman played the shot of the match with an unfathomable chopped forehand winner down the line in the next set, but it was only a mere highlight as Nadal refused to let up, a second break putting him one set from victory.

Nadal has never lost when two sets up on clay but, after forging ahead in the third with a break, he failed to hold in successive service games, with two untimely unforced errors in the latter game giving Schwartzman a glimmer of hope.

The 12th seed had three break points to move 6-5 up but Nadal closed the door each time, and it was the favourite who showed a killer instinct in the tie-break to tee up a final against either Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"I know against Diego it's very difficult until the end," Nadal said on court afterwards. 

"He's one of the players that makes more breaks [than anyone on] the tour. 

"Three weeks ago, I lost in Rome so I expected a very tough match. I'm happy with the way I played, I think I have been improving."

Novak Djokovic was wary of revealing the full extent of his neck and shoulder injuries ahead of a French Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

World number one Djokovic reached the last four at Roland Garros on Wednesday after recovering from a set down to beat Pablo Carreno-Busta 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4.

Djokovic was clearly hampered by fitness concerns, however, wearing tape on his neck, repeatedly stretching out his left arm and then receiving treatment in Paris midweek.

"I definitely didn't feel great coming into the court today. A few things happened in the warm-up," Djokovic explained afterwards.

"I had to deal with those physical issues coming onto the court. As the match went on, I felt better and didn't feel as much pain."

The Australian Open champion was pressed for further detail but, with his title tilt continuing, additional information remained scarce.

"I had some neck issues and some shoulder issues. I'll just say that," he said. "I don't want to get really too much into it.

"Obviously I'm still in the tournament, so I don't want to reveal too much.

"I'm feeling okay. I think as the match progressed, I warmed up by body and the pain kind of faded away. It allowed me to play better and better and feel better."

Victory was particularly sweet as it came against Carreno-Busta, Djokovic's opponent when he was defaulted from the US Open last month for striking a line judge with the ball.

It was put to the 33-year-old Serbian that match – his only defeat in 2020 – might have contributed to the slow start against Carreno-Busta, but he insisted the injuries were the sole cause.

"No, no, it wasn't that at all. It was something else," Djokovic said. "I actually just mentioned what was the issue. I had to deal with that.

"I told you guys many times I'm over it. I'm not thinking about it at all. I mean, zero per cent."

Novak Djokovic exorcised some of his Flushing Meadows demons by coming from a set down to beat Pablo Carreno-Busta in four sets in the French Open quarter-finals.

Carreno-Busta was Djokovic's fourth-round opponent at the US Open last month when the world number one was defaulted for striking a ball that inadvertently hit a line judge.

It looked like the Spaniard might find a way past the Serbian again at Roland Garros as he took the first set, with Djokovic clearly troubled by an apparent injury to his neck and upper left arm.

However, he fought through that and triumphed 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 in three hours and 10 minutes to set up a last-four showdown with Stefanos Tsitsipas, which will be Djokovic's 38th grand slam semi-final.

It was clear something was not right with Djokovic early on given that, as well as wearing tape on his neck, he continued to stretch and hit his left arm while struggling to make first serves.

Carreno-Busta forged ahead for the first time when Djokovic netted a forehand on serve and, though the Serbian would hit back to make it 4-4, the Spaniard claimed a second break before serving out the opener.

Djokovic received treatment on his left triceps between sets and that seemed to have the desired effect as he levelled up the match with an authoritative forehand that saw him break to love.

The previously subdued world number one had rediscovered his mojo and reeled off three straight games to seize the initiative in the third set, only for Carreno-Busta to fight back and then miss a forehand winner that would have put him a break up.

It was Djokovic who stepped up when it mattered, too, an ace dispatched down the middle putting him one set from victory.

A tireless Carreno-Busta then miscued at the net on serve to give a 4-3 advantage to Djokovic, who staved off three break points before converting his first match point.

 

Data slam: Djokovic overcomes injury issues

Whatever was bothering Djokovic was clearly evident in the opener when he managed to make just 40 per cent of his 30 serves, compared to Carreno-Busta's 65 per cent. However, Djokovic soon found his groove - as epitomised by his first-serve percentage of 70 per cent in the next set. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic: 53/41
Carreno-Busta: 42/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic: 2/5
Carreno-Busta: 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic: 6/13
Carreno-Busta: 3/13  

Stefanos Tsitsipas made a statement of intent by propelling himself into the French Open semi-finals with a straight-sets dispatching of Andrey Rublev.

World number six Tsitsipas, who will face top seed Novak Djokovic or Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday, made light work of his Russian opponent, taking just under two hours to win 7-5 6-2 6-3. 

It puts the Greek – the first player from his nation to make it this far in Paris – into his second career grand slam semi-final, following his run to the last four in the Australian Open in 2019.

The 22-year-old, who claimed 43 points on his first serve, won 16 of the final 21 games to thwart any comeback hopes for Rublev.

"I have been feeling really comfortable playing on this court," Tsitsipas told a limited number of spectators on Court Philippe-Chatrier after his triumph. "Despite not having a good start and being a break down, I remembered what a big fighter I am. It's about fighting and trying to find solutions in difficult moments."

Tsitsipas conceded the first break in an intense opener, with Rublev striking to go 3-2 up, but the 13th seed could not hold his nerve when serving for the set and an overhit forehand handed the ATP Finals champion a reprieve.

Another sloppy Rublev forehand gifted Tsitsipas the first set, and several unforced errors from the Russian followed in the second as the fifth seed upped the pressure.

A wonderful drop-shot gave Tsitsipas a first match point on Rublev's serve, though he failed to convert it.

Yet victory was assured in the next game, with Tsitsipas rounding off a supreme display with a clinical forehand volley.

Data Slam: Tsitsipas on a roll at Roland Garros

After dropping his first two in this year's tournament, against Jaume Munar in round one, Tsitsipas has now won 15 successive sets at Roland Garros, and he will now attempt to become the first man from Greece to reach a grand slam final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rublev – 25/23
Tsitsipas – 35/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rublev – 7/0
Tsitsipas – 7/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Rublev – 1/3
Tsitsipas – 5/8

Novak Djokovic had few scares in his fourth-round win over Karen Khachanov at the French Open, though there was one "awkward situation" that left him with a sense of deja vu.

Djokovic eased into his 14th Roland Garros quarter-final with a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday.

An entertaining but largely uneventful encounter was marked by a moment of drama as Djokovic accidentally hit a line judge with an errant shot.

The world number one, defaulted from the US Open for striking a line judge with a ball after dropping serve at Flushing Meadows, was in no danger of disqualification this time around, though Djokovic conceded the moment left him briefly feeling uneasy.

He will meet Pablo Carreno Busta in a rematch of that US Open clash following the Spaniard's 6-2 7-5 6-2 win over Daniel Altmaier.

Meanwhile there were wins for Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.


DEJA VU FOR DJOKOVIC

Djokovic skipped his press commitments in the wake of his infamous incident at Flushing Meadows.

However, he was more than happy to face the media after history repeated itself in more innocuous fashion, and he praised the line judge in question for their response to the accident.

"My gosh, it was very awkward deja vu," Djokovic said. "I'm actually trying to find the lines person and see if he's okay because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him. 

"I hope he's fine. I mean, he definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way. But it was a hit because I was very close.

"Obviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this.

"It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I've been on the tour. I've seen it a lot when the ball ricochets from the racquet and the frame, hits someone in the stands, or someone that is close to you or line umpire.

"It was a very awkward situation obviously."

RUBLEV HAILS 'REALLY IMPORTANT' WIN

Rublev had to fight extremely hard to see off Marton Fucsovics, conqueror of his Russian compatriot Daniil Medvedev in the first round.

The 13th seed was a break down in each of the first three sets, losing the opener on a tie-break before coming back to prevail 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Asked if he could enjoy a match where he was almost always having to claw back a deficit, he replied: "I think I start to enjoy more when it was one set all.

"When he broke me and I broke him back. When the games was three-all, when I broke him, when he broke me back, from that time I start to enjoy more.

"In general, I think we showed great level. These kind of matches are really important. You understand why you are working, why you're giving everything every day in practices."

TSITSIPAS EYES REVENGE

Next up for Rublev will be fifth speed Tsitsipas, who lost to the Russian in the final in Hamburg prior to travelling to Paris.

The Greek overcame Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 to set up a rematch with Rublev in the last eight.

And he knows he will have to improve if he is to alter the outcome from their previous encounter.

"Andrey, we grew up playing together. He has improved a lot. We've played each other many times. I think he has a positive record against me," Tsitsipas said.

"It is very important for me to take this opportunity and fight harder this time, maybe do something better.

"He's a very challenging player to play against. I think he for sure brings the best out of me when I step out on the court to play against him."

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