PARIS, June 6 (AP): Iga Swiatek closed out her latest French Open victory and raised a triumphant right fist. Rafael Nadal won less than half an hour later and celebrated with a left uppercut.
The two defending champions make for a potent one-two combination at Roland Garros, where both won going away Saturday to reach the fourth round.
Swiatek rallied from a break down in the opening set to beat Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4), 6-0. Nadal was unfazed at losing serve twice in a row in the second set and eliminated Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal, 35, advanced to the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 50th time. He’s trying to add to his record 13 French Open crowns and seeks his 21st major title, which would break the men’s record he shares with Roger Federer.
As Nadal spoke to the crowd after his match, fans reminded the Spaniard of his title total by shouting “treize!” — 13 in French.
“Can you repeat that?” he responded in English with a smile.
Nadal will next play 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, who is seeded 18th.
“He’s young, he’s improving every week, he has big shots,” Nadal said. “I need to be solid. I need to be aggressive too. I need to make him play from tough positions. It’s the fourth round — you can’t expect an easy opponent.”
Nadal knows that from experience. Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only other men to reach the fourth round at 50 major events.
Federer raised his total to a record 68 trips to the round of 16 at majors by getting past Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a match that ended at nearly 1 am.
Swiatek, 20, has won 20 consecutive sets at Roland Garros and that streak was in jeopardy when she trailed Kontaveit 4-2. The title holder dominated from there and lost only 12 points in the second set.
“It’s good to have matches like that, because it keeps you down to earth, and you have to be careful on every point,” Swiatek said. “I’m just happy that I’m able to play really solid in really important moments.”
The eighth-seeded pride of Poland next faces 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who has reached the round of 16 at a major event for the first time.
Sofia Kenin advanced to the fourth round for the third consecutive year by winning a seesaw all-American match against Jessica Pegula, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Kenin is the highest-seeded player left in the women’s draw at No. 4, and she has shaken a slump with her return to Roland Garros, where she was the runner-up to Swiatek in October.
“This whole year hasn’t been so great in terms of my tennis,” Kenin said. “I’ve had some early round exits. I’m just happy that I’m finally finding my rhythm and playing some good tennis again.”
The top-seeded Djokovic didn’t face a break point en route to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory over unseeded Ričardas Berankis.
Sinner beat Mikael Ymer 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 and was joined the round of 16 by another Italian 19-year-old, Lorenzo Musetti, who outlasted Marco Cecchinato — also from Italy — 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Another teen, 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, advanced to the fourth round in Paris for the first time. She led 6-1 when her opponent, Jennifer Brady, stopped playing due to a left foot injury.