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Follow Me on TwitterRob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at rsoria@ourhometown.ca
French Open: Day Nine - Nadal looks unstoppable heading into quarterfinals
Rob Soria
OurHometown.ca

French Open: Day Nine - Nadal looks unstoppable heading into quarterfinals
While a couple of minor upsets kept the top eight seeds from all making the quarterfinals at this year's French Open, one thing is abundantly clear. The man to beat, without question, is defending champion Rafa Nadal. The talented Spaniard looks poised to hoist his seventh Coupe des Mousquetaires in eight career appearances at Roland Garros.
PHOTO CREDIT - GettyImages.com

Edmonton - June 4, 2012 - While a couple of minor upsets kept the top eight seeds from all making the quarterfinals at this year's French Open, one thing is abundantly clear. The man to beat, without question, is defending champion Rafa Nadal. After literally destroying clay court specialist Juan Monaco in just over ninety minutes, the talented Spaniard looks poised to hoist his seventh Coupe des Mousquetaires in eight career appearances at Roland Garros. As good as players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have looked at times during this year's tournament, it will take one monumental performance to keep Rafa from collecting his eleventh career Grand Slam title.

After outlasting Canadian youngster Milos Raonic in a tough five setter, Monaco's prize was to face the hottest player on the tour in the round of sixteen. Many consider the Argentine to be one of the better clay court players on tour but one would have never guessed it, as Nadal looked to be toying with the number thirteen seed. He dropped only forty three points en route to a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 whitewashing. Nadal broke his over matched opponents serve eight times and committed only thirteen unforced errors for the match. Simply put, it was total domination from start to finish.

Rafa will now take on fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro, after the hard hitting Spaniard easily disposed of number eight seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The potential exists of this being an entertaining match, with neither man having dropped a set thus far, but with Nadal playing at the level he is, Almagro will have to be at his very best to stay in the match.

Fourth seed Andy Murray looked awful in dropping the opening set 6-1, in under thirty minutes, to seventeenth seed Richard Gasquet but was equally impressive, taking the next three with ease 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. After hitting only six winners in the entire first set, Murray pounded out fifty-three more over the remainder of the match, easily cruising into the final eight.

He will now face the one player that is more often then not, considered an after thought when it comes to the top players in the world...Spain's David Ferrer. The hardworking thirty year old took out yet another Spaniard, in Marcel Granollers to reach the quarters. Like Nadal and Almagro, Ferrer has yet to lose a set at this year's Open but Murray will undoubtedly be the favourite heading in. That being said, he had better not have any mental lapses, as Ferrer could play for days on end, if necessary.

In the two matches that were suspended from the previous day, Juan Martin Del Potro pulled off a minor upset, bouncing seventh seed Tomas Berdych 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5. The big Argentine seems to be getting better every time out and well now face Federer in the quarterfinals. While Roger holds a career mark of 11-2 over the hard hitting Del Potro, the number nine seed did beat the Swiss maestro in the 2009 US Open final. After slowly recovering from wrist surgery in 2010, Juan Martin seems to have finally rediscovered his game.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put the final touches on his his five set win over Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka and will now have the pleasure of playing top seed Novak Djokovic in the final eight. With the home crowd firmly behind him, Tsonga could give Djokovic all sorts of trouble but he will have to drastically limit the amount of unforced errors he commits, if he hopes to give the Serb a run for his money.


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