Tennis

Rafael Nadal celebrates birthday as the French Open hots up

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Rafael Nadal is just three wins away from securing a record ninth title at the French Open, and the Spaniard showed little sign of nerves as he celebrated his birthday today.

The 28-year-old was presented with cake and champagne (pictured above) at Roland Garros - don't tell Manchester City footballer Yaya Toure, we don't want him getting jealous - as he continues to fire through the rounds.

Yesterday's easy win over Serbian youngster Dusan Lajovic secured a quarter-final berth for the world no.1. He doesn't appear to be suffering too much from an apparently troublesome back injury

Fans of the Spaniard will be hoping he doesn't go overboard on goodies, however, as his compatriot David Ferrer will be hoping to stand in his way.

The competition really begins here for Nadal. Things have been plain sailing so far and he is yet to drop a set in the whole tournament, or even face a tie-break.

That is likely to change now though, as Ferrer is among the favourites. He beat three of his fellow countryman on the way to last year's final in Paris.

He couldn't upset the 'King of Clay' though, as Nadal clinched his eighth title with a 6-3 6-2 6-3 win.

It may not be as simple for the birthday boy this time. His experienced 32-year-old opponent has only dropped one set himself thus far and he disposed of fellow seeded player Andreas Seppi and Kevin Anderson in rounds three and four respectively.

Furthermore the omens looks positive for the underdog. Ferrer will be full of confidence coming into this last eight tie after breaking a duck earlier this year

It had been 10 years since the world no.5 had beaten his younger compatriot on the clay when the two met at the Monte Carlo Masters - also in the quarters of an event which Nadal was looking for a ninth gong. A 7-6 6-4 upset proved to be the beginning of a tough season on clay for Nadal thus far.

In fact, the 13-time Grand Slam champion looks to have only just recovered from his poor spell. His only title on the dirt was at the Madrid Open, and that was largely down to Kei Nishikori's injury in the final. An unexpected exit in Barcelona and a demoralising loss in the Rome Masters final to Novak Djokovic formed unhelpful preparations for Roland Garros.

Nadal may be back on track now but there are still some big threats elsewhere in the draw, should he overcome Ferrer tomorrow.

British no.1 Andy Murray faces home favourite Gael Monfils, Roger Federer's victor, Ernests Gulbis, prepares to clash with Tomas Berdych and the strongly-fancied Djokovic is playing Milos Raonic.

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Topics:
Tennis
French Open
Rafael Nadal

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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