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Meet this new Spanish left-hander in French Open quarters...

May 29, 2016 20:14 IST

Albert Ramos-Vinolas

IMAGE: Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinola returns the ball. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters.

A Spanish left-hander moved into the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday. No surprise there, although his name was not Rafael Nadal but Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

French Open PIX: Muguruza downs Kuznetsova; Ramos-Vinolas stuns Raonic

With nine-time champion Nadal rocking the tournament on Friday when he pulled out with a wrist injury, the onus has fallen on some of his less-celebrated countrymen to carry the flag.

Ramos-Vinolas, ranked 55, had never been past the second round in 18 previous grand slam appearances but Nadal would have approved of the way he swept past eighth seed Milos Raonic, the big-serving Canadian, to set up a clash with defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka.

His 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory was only his second defeat of a top-10 player, the other being Roger Federer last year, and followed his win over 23rd-seeded American Jack Sock on Friday.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas

IMAGE: Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain hits a forehand. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

His run has been even more surprising as his previous four visits to Roland Garros resulted in first-round losses.

"I'm very happy. I didn't expect this," the 28-year-old from Barcelona told reporters. "After losing last week 6-1, 6-1 against Wawrinka (in Geneva), I was a little bit down.

"I don't know why this week things seem to be falling into place but I hope I will continue in that way."

Three other Spaniards will try to join Ramos-Vinolas in the men's quarter-finals on Monday when Roberto Bautista Agut plays top seed Novak Djokovic, former runner-up David Ferrer is up against Tomas Berdych and Marcel Granollers, who was handed a walkover by Nadal, faces Austria's Dominic Thiem.

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