Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal, last year's runner-up David Ferrer and Wimbledon titlist Andy Murray were a trio of fourth-round winners Monday at the French Open.
The world No. 1 Nadal improved to a remarkable 63-1 lifetime at Roland Garros by crushing Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 on Court Chatrier. The lopsided affair saw the ruthless Spanish great assume set leads of 5-0, 4-0 and 5-0 on Day 9 of the clay court fortnight.
"I played with no mistakes and having the control with the backhand, with the forehand from the baseline," Nadal said. "Sure, you never know what's better, but in theory, the theory says that it's better win like this than win longer matches."
The 13-time major champion Nadal is trying to become the first man to capture five straight French Open championships.
Music superstar Prince was in attendance Monday, nearly hidden in the stands, sitting in the very back row of the presidential box at Chatrier clutching a shiny cane. When the Nadal match ended, Prince rose to leave then paused and paid his respects by applauding.
The fifth-seeded Ferrer, meanwhile, had a hiccup in the fourth set in an otherwise routine 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1 victory over 19th-seeded former University of Illinois standout Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Ferrer will now appear in his 10th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal. He reached his first and only Grand Slam final here a year ago before getting whipped by his fellow countryman Nadal in an all-Spanish title tilt. The two will meet in a rematch of that match in a quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Nadal, who will turn 28 on Tuesday, is 21-6 lifetime against the 32-year-old Ferrer, including 3-0 at Roland Garros. Ferrer, however, upset Nadal on some red clay in Monte Carlo back in April.
"I look forward to playing against David (Ferrer), it is going to be a very difficult match," said Nadal.
The seventh-seeded Murray, seeking a trip into only his second-ever French Open semifinal, humbled 24th-seeded Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) on Court Lenglen. The British star improved to 10-1 lifetime against the hard-hitting Verdasco in reaching his 13th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Murray's quarterfinal opponent will be 23rd-seeded French crowd favorite Gael Monfils, who cruised past Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. The 2008 semifinalist Monfils is now into his fourth career Roland Garros quarter.
The quarterfinals will commence Tuesday when second-seeded 2012 runner-up Novak Djokovic takes on eighth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych encounters 18th-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis. The former world No. 1 and six-time major champion Djokovic still needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.