PARIS - Two-time reigning and six-time overall champion Rafael Nadal and three-time Grand Slam runner-up Andy Murray were a pair of fourth-round winners Monday at the French Open.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal, who turned 26 on Sunday, improved to 49-1 lifetime on the red clay at Roland Garros with a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 demolition of 13th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco. The Day-9 debacle was over in a mere 1 hour, 46 minutes, as Nadal held his serve throughout while breaking the helpless Argentine a whopping eight times in 10 tries on Court Lenglen.
Nadal, who dropped only 19 games over his first four matches here, fell behind 0-2 in the first set before rattling off an unstoppable 18-game streak to dismiss Monaco.
The amazing Nadal's quarterfinal opponent will be 12th-seeded fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who, like Nadal, has yet to lose a set at this 2012 fortnight.
The 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, who beat Roger Federer in the French Open final for a fourth time last year, is trying to secure an Open Era-record seventh men's singles title here. He currently shares the record of six with legendary Swede Bjorn Borg.
Nadal was the runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the previous three major events, including this year's Australian Open.
The fourth-seeded Murray struggled mightily in the first set Monday before fighting back for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 victory over 17th-seeded nifty Frenchman Richard Gasquet in 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Gasquet was up a set and tied at 4-4 in the second set when Murray caught fire by winning seven straight and 14 of the last 16 games to advance to his third French Open quarterfinal, where he should have his hands full with gritty Spaniard David Ferrer.
"He started very, very well, went for his shots, high risk and was playing unbelievable," Murray said of Gasquet.
"I was lucky to turn it around at the end of the second set and then I started to play a lot better."
Meanwhile, France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Ferrer were also among Monday's fourth-round victors.
Tsonga completed a five-set win over 18th-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in a match that was halted on Sunday because of darkness. The fifth-seeded Frenchman notched a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 triumph and advanced to a quarterfinal matchup with the current world No. 1 Djokovic, who rallied from a two-set deficit on Sunday to beat Italian Andreas Seppi.
It will be the first trip to the French Open quarterfinals for Tsonga, who has had some success against Djokovic. The two have split 10 lifetime meetings, although Djokovic won a quarterfinal matchup last month in Rome and also prevailed in the 2008 Australian Open title match.
"It's going to be a very difficult match," Tsonga said. "But obviously I'll fight like a lion and we'll see the result. I'll do everything I can to make it a difficult match for him."
The sixth-seeded Ferrer, meanwhile, continued to dominate his opposition. He has yet to drop a set in four matches and on Monday rolled to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 rout of 20th-seeded Marcel Granollers, improving to 4-0 lifetime against his fellow Spaniard.
Ferrer has lost as many as four games in a set just once against his first four foes and twice has produced a clean set. He could finally get a test in Murray in the round of eight. Ferrer reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2005 and 2008, losing to Nadal and Gael Monfils, respectively.
The aforementioned Almagro knocked off eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, of Serbia, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Almagro is coming off a title in Nice the week before the start of the French Open and also won the tournament in Sao Paulo earlier this year. He is in the French quarterfinals for the third time in five years, but has yet to advance further, falling to Nadal in both 2008 and 2010.
Former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina also moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over seventh-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in a match that was also halted by darkness on Sunday. The ninth-seeded del Potro avenged a loss to Berdych in the Madrid semifinals last month and has reached the quarters of a Grand Slam for the second time this year. He lost to Federer at the Aussie Open and will again face the 16-time Grand Slam champ in the quarters here.
The quarterfinals will get underway Tuesday, as Djokovic will face Tsonga and a third-seeded Federer will encounter del Potro in a rematch of the 2009 U.S. Open final, which was won by del Potro.