Nadal rolls on, 16-0 vs. longtime friend Gasquet


PARIS — Defending champion Rafael Nadal easily beat Richard Gasquet once again, reaching the fourth round of the French Open with a crushing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win on Saturday.

Nadal is gaining momentum in his bid for a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros, and Gasquet never looked remotely like stopping him.

He rarely has.

The top-ranked Spaniard inflicted a 16th defeat on Gasquet, who has lost every encounter dating back to 2004.

In fact, the 27th-seeded Frenchman has not even taken a set off him in 11 straight matches, including this latest one-sided affair. It makes gloomy reading for Gasquet, who quickly trailed 5-0 in sunny conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“He respects me,” Gasquet told L’Equipe newspaper before Saturday’s match. “But in the meantime, he often gives me a beating.”

With clubbing forehands, Nadal did just that, streaking ahead 4-0 in the second set. He did the same in the third, before Gasquet finally held serve after a long fifth game. A rare highlight for Gasquet was when he earned applause from Nadal following a superb cushioned volley at the net.

A brilliant shot which also summed Gasquet’s career: exquisite talent, including one of the best backhands in tennis, but little end product.

Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Gasquet chopped an errant backhand long. Moments after hugging Gasquet sympathetically, Nadal was all smiles as he exchanged a couple of rallies with a ball boy to warm applause from the crowd.

Nadal is chasing a men’s singles 17th Grand Slam title — only Roger Federer has more with 20 — and next faces the unseeded German Maximilian Marterer in their first career meeting.

No. 3 seed Marin Cilic moved into the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the 20th time, eliminating American Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at the French Open.

Cilic won all 14 of his service games, broke Johnson four times and built a 35-14 edge in total winners.

Johnson, ranked 46th, has never been to the round of 16 at Roland Garros.

Unseeded Karen Khachanov of Russia has reached the round of 16 for the second consecutive year, eliminating 15th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in the resumption of a suspended match.

They were tied 1-1 in the third set when play was stopped because of rain the night before.

The 38th-ranked Khachanov has made it to the fourth round both times he played at Roland Garros, his best showing at any Grand Slam tournament.

He will try to reach a major quarterfinal for the first time, facing No. 2-seeded Alexander Zverev next.

Mischa Zverev couldn’t keep up with his younger brother Saturday, ending their bid to become the first siblings in 27 years to reach the fourth round at the same Grand Slam tournament.

The 64th-ranked Mischa lost in the third round to 2017 US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Saturday.

The sixth-seeded Anderson won all 21 of his service games and compiled a 56-19 advantage in winners, including 18 aces. He broke Mischa three times.

The Zverevs could have been just the third pair of brothers to reach the round of 16 at the same major in the 50-year Open era. Gene and Sandy Mayer did it at Wimbledon in 1979, and Emilio and Javier Sanchez followed suit at the 1991 US Open.

Anderson is into the fourth round in Paris for the fourth time; he’s never made it past that stage. He’ll next face No. 11 seed Diego Schwartzman, a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 winner against Borna Coric.

David Goffin saved four match points, holding his nerve against a partisan French crowd, in beating Gael Monfils of France 6-7 (6), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

From being on the precipice of defeat when serving at 4-5 in the fourth set, the eighth-seeded Belgian then profited when Monfils lost his cool with the umpire after a warning for taking too much time between points.

“You know me, you know my temper,” Monfils said to the umpire during the next changeover.

Goffin then held serve to love to level at two sets apiece.

Monfils appeared to be on his last legs, hunched over, sweat dripping off his nose, in the deciding set, but he summoned the energy to break Goffin when he was serving for the match at 5-2.

Goffin set up match point with a crunching backhand return on Monfils’ second serve and won when Monfils then hit a forehand long. He next plays Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

In other matches, Fabio Fognini beat Kyle Edmund 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, while Maximilian Marterer won 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 against Jurgen Zopp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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