Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal closed in Friday on a blockbuster clash at the French Open as both reached the last 16, while Carlos Alcaraz prepared to face the only man to beat him on clay this year.
Reigning champion Djokovic and 13-time winner Nadal are on course to meet in the quarter-finals, with the Spaniard seeded outside the top four at Roland Garros for just the second time.
World number one Djokovic strolled to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene and Nadal eased past Dutch 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
“I’m always very motivated when I get on the court, with the desire to produce my best level each time. It’s not always possible to do it, but today it was very good,” said Djokovic.
The 35-year-old Serb is aiming to become the oldest men’s singles champion in Paris in the Open era as he chases a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam title.
Next up for Djokovic, who was also French Open champion in 2016, is a match-up with Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, the 15th seed.
Nadal, the 21-time major champion, improved his record at Roland Garros to 108-3 after seeing off 2021 US Open quarter-finalist Van de Zandschulp.
He has now reached at least the fourth round in 17 of 18 visits to Roland Garros, with the exception of 2016 when he withdrew in the third round with a wrist injury.
“I think I played a good match against a good player. I’m very happy to win,” said Nadal.
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