French Open Preview: Federer, Nadal eye quarterfinals

Day eight promises exciting things as Johanna Konta looks to become the first British woman to reach a quarterfinal at Roland Garros since Jo Durie in 1983.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal during the Laver Cup   -  Getty Images

Roger Federer and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal will be targetting the French Open quarterfinals when they take on Argentinians Leonardo Mayer and Juan Ignacio Londero respectively on Sunday, while Britain's Johanna Konta looks to continue her surprise run at Roland Garros.

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Roger Federer (SUI x3) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)

Head-to-head: Federer leads 3-0.

Federer has impressed so far on his return to Roland Garros after opting out of the tournament in 2015, notching three consecutive straight-set wins.

Next up for the 20-time Grand Slam champion is another unseeded player in Mayer, an opponent he has beaten in all three of their previous meetings while dropping only one set.

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The 37-year-old Federer is the oldest man to reach the fourth round in Paris for 47 years, but will still be a red-hot favourite to see off Mayer, who has never reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“It's a good match for him,” admitted world number 68 Mayer, who also reached the Wimbledon last 16 in 2014.

 

Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) v Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG)

Head-to-head: First meeting.

Nadal has eased through his first three rounds in trademark fashion as he bids to win a third consecutive French Open title, although he was briefly tested by David Goffin who managed to take a set in their last-32 encounter.

It's hard to see anything other than a return to straight-sets comfort for the 17-time Grand Slam champion in round four, as he takes on 25-year-old Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero, who is playing in a Grand Slam main draw for the first time in his career.

The world number 78 said he almost fainted during his epic five-set win over home hope Corentin Moutet last time out, and fell to the clay in celebration at the end of the match.

“I felt that I was going to faint. I don't know if it was the nerves, the sun, that feeling that your legs are loosening,” he said.

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Johanna Konta finished runner-up to Karolina Pliskova at the Italian Open   -  Getty Images

 

He will need to do more than stay standing to have any chance of toppling Nadal in the pair's first-ever meeting.

 

Donna Vekic (CRO x23) v Johanna Konta (GBR x26)

Head-to-head: Level at 3-3.

Konta is the first British woman to reach the last 16 since Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs in 1983, despite having never won a main-draw match in Paris before.

The 26th seed found form with a run to the Italian Open final last month, and has shrugged off the absence of Bono, her beloved pet dog, and not the U2 frontman.

“I was under the impression you couldn't bring dogs here, but then I saw everyone bringing dogs, so now I'm, like, 'Why didn't we bring him?'”

She should find life tougher against Croatia's Vekic, having taken advantage of a kind draw so far to beat the unseeded trio of Antonia Lottner, Lauren Davis and Viktoria Kuzmova.