No. 3 Rafael Nadal moved one step closer to a potential semifinal with Novak Djokovic.
No. 3 Rafael Nadal moved one step closer to a potential semifinal with Novak Djokovic.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal celebrated his 27th birthday Monday by advancing to the French Open quarterfinals when he beat Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

Nadal seeks to become first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event. He won a record seventh French Open title last year and is 56-1 at Roland Garros.

Seeded No. 3, Nadal trailed early in each of his first three matches, but he was a front-runner against Nishikori, the first Japanese man to play in the fourth round at Roland Garros since 1938.

Since returning in February from a seven-month layoff because of a left knee injury, Nadal is 40-2.

His opponent Wednesday will be the winner of the fourth-ro

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