Nadal into 12th French Open quarter-final

Darren Walton
Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal has won through to a 12th French Open quarter-final

Rafael Nadal fired a chilling warning to pretenders to his throne after surging into a record-equalling 12th French Open quarter-final.

"I am enjoying the day by day on the tour and I hope to keep doing this for a while,' the world No.1 and 10-time Roland Garros champion said after celebrating his 32nd birthday with a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-4) fourth-round victory over little-known German Maximilian Marterer.

"I don't feel myself old. But I am 32, and I am here around since 2003, so it's a long way, a lot of years.

"But, no, I feel happy to be here."

Despite enduring his toughest work-out of the tournament, it was a case of another day, another milestone the king of clay as he posted his 900th tour-level win, as well as matching Novak Djokovic's record number of men's quarter-final appearances in Paris.

"I never like to be arrogant at all," Nadal said.

"I don't want to have an answer that looks like this.

"But being honest, I won 11 Monte Carlos, 11 Barcelonas, eight Romes, so it's about the surface, not only the place."

His rivals already know the story.

That didn't stop Marterer - only the 11th man in 50 years of professional tennis to make the last 16 on debut at Roland Garros, and first since Nadal in 2005 - from putting up a spirited challenge

Nadal had to recover from a service break down in both the second and third sets to put away the world No.70 after a two-hour, 30-minute struggle.

Nadal's latest victory, his 234th at a major, also moved the Spaniard past Jimmy Connors into outright third place for most wins at a grand slam behind Roger Federer (332) and Djokovic (244).

The top seed next plays Diego Schwartzman after Argentina's 11th seed fought back from two sets and 5-3 down to deny South African sixth seed Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 in a niggly fourth-round affair.

Schwartzman took exception to Anderson's over-the-top celebrations before staging his heroic comeback.

"I never see something like this. No matter if he played a good point or if I do a bad choice, he's always saying something. Come on, shut up," said Schwartzman while venting his frustrations at chair umpire Marijana Veljovic.

"It's not respect. You have to have some respect for the (other) players because when I miss the ball, be quiet.

"Not every point saying 'come on, yeah, yeah, come on. Shut up."

Nadal or Schwartzman will play either Marin Cilic, Fabio Fognini or Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals.

The resurgent Martin Del Potro qualified for his first Roland Garros quarter-final in six years with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat of big-serving American ninth seed John Isner.

The sixth-seeded Argentine was awaiting the winner of Cilic's fourth-round clash with Fognini.