Novak Djokovic sets up quarter-final with 'old man' Tommy Haas at French Open
Serbian ace stays on course for career slamas German veteran takes place in record books
World number one Novak Djokovic reached his 16th consecutive grand slam quarter-final yesterday to set-up a clash against evergreen Tommy Haas for a spot in the French Open semi-finals.
Top seed Djokovic carved out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over 16th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, with the German paying a high price for converting just two of 13 break points.
German 35-year-old Haas, meanwhile, became the third oldest man to reach the last-eight with a comfortable 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over volatile Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
"I needed to earn my victory, and in the end it was good. I'm really glad to get through, because he's a good quality opponent and he's a specialist for this surface," said Djokovic.
On facing 12th-seeded Haas, against whom he has a 4-3 winning record, the Serb said: "I have a lot of respect for Tommy. He is playing well."
Djokovic, the runner-up to seven-time champion Rafael Nadal last year, needs a French Open title to complete a career grand slam. The last time he failed to reach the last-eight of a major was in Paris in 2009 when he lost in the fourth round to yesterday's opponent.
Haas became the first German in 17 years to reach the quarter-finals and the oldest man to make the last eight at any grand slam since Andre Agassi at the 2005 US Open.
Haas, who made history in the third round when he needed a record 13 match points to beat John Isner, eased past Youzhny in just 84 minutes.
"It was a pretty good performance. I was broken in the first game but I got my bearings, got into the groove," said Haas, who is enjoying a renaissance in a career which has been decimated by a series of injuries.
Only Pancho Gonzales, who was over 40 when he made the last eight in 1968, and 39-year-old Istvan Gulyas in 1971, have got this far in the tournament at Haas' age. "The oldest since 1971? I never thought it would be possible to have this success," said Haas.
Nadal, trying to be the first man to win the same grand slam title eight times, celebrated his 27th birthday with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori.
In the women's fourth round, Belarus' Victoria Azarenka, the third seed, beat Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 6-3, 6-0, while Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, United States 7-5, 6-4.