Paris: Rafa Nadal said he was not playing well enough to lift the French Open title despite breezing past Ivan Ljubicic in their fourth-round match.
The Spaniard was barely tested as he recorded a routine 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over unseeded Croatian Ljubicic but he was far from satisfied after their encounter on court Philippe Chatrier.
"I`m not playing well enough to win this tournament," world number one Nadal told a news conference after improving his Roland Garros record to 42-1 to set up a rematch of last year`s final with fifth seed Robin Soderling in the last eight.
"Sometimes I still make a few mistakes in a row and this cannot happen again."
Nadal, who handed Ljubicic his fourth straight-sets defeat on clay in as many meetings between the two, struggled in his first two matches at Roland Garros against low-key opponents.
However, he did make light work of Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic in the previous round.
Nadal was threatened only once by Ljubicic when it was 5-4 to the Croat and the score 30-30 on the Spaniard`s serve.
The nine-times grand slam champion then reeled off 10 out of 11 points to bag the opening set.
"I played badly, then I was much better and he started to make a lot of mistakes," said Nadal.
The world number one clinched victory when Ljubicic, who struggled with his opponent`s high-bouncing forehands, returned long.
"It wasn`t a bad match from my side," said Ljubicic. "It`s just the serve was not there and without a good serve against anybody, it`s tough, but against Rafa it`s almost impossible."
According to Ljubicic, Nadal`s next opponent can start to worry.
"The first set I`m sure there were points where he felt like he could have played better but I think now he has four matches under his belt and if he manages to win the next one he`s back in business, confidence wise," said the Croat.
"I think today`s match is going to give him quite a lot of confidence. When he relaxed after the first set he played high-level tennis."