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Monfils takes center stage in Paris ahead of Nadal

PARIS (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal has won more Roland Garros titles than anyone yet he has been shunted off the main showcourt on Wednesday to make way for Frenchman Gael Monfils who has never made a grand slam final in almost a decade of trying.

Nadal will continue his pursuit of a record-extending ninth French Open crown on Suzanne Lenglen Court, where he will face fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarter-finals.

Ferrer beat the champion the last time they met, in the Monte Carlo Masters just weeks ago, but replicating that feat in a tournament where Nadal has a phenomenal 63-1 win-loss record might be an ambition too far.

Nadal's relegation to the second showcourt means that Monfils will be able to draw on the support of 15,000 hollering fans when he takes on Wimbledon champion Andy Murray on Philippe Chatrier Court.

Before Monfils whips up the crowd, 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani will take on German 28th seed Andrea Petkovic.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, champion in 2009, will also be eager to join compatriot Maria Sharapova in the last four by beating the highest ranked player left in the women's draw, fourth seeded Romanian Simona Halep.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Justin Palmer)

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