PARIS (AP) - Make it 3 for 3 for Nicolas Almagro - as in, three trips to the French Open quarterfinals and three meetings with Rafael Nadal.
The 12th-seeded Spanaird beat eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on a wet and windy Monday, then waited to see who his opponent would be. Answer: Not surprisingly, it was Nadal, who lost only two games in a straight set blowout over Juan Monaco.
Almagro's previous two trips to the round of eight at Roland Garros, in 2008 and 2010, both ended with losses to six-time champion Nadal, part of an 0-7 career mark against his countryman.
Asked if he felt Nadal was stronger than two years ago, when they last met in the quarterfinals - a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-4 Nadal win - Almagro didn't back down.
"I am stronger, too," he said. "It's different. It's another match, and I'm ready to fight." Almagro hasn't lost a set at this year's French Open but neither has Nadal, who has dropped only 19 games over his four matches.