Brutal Rafa Nadal through to French Open third round
Spanish master on course to smash Grand Slam record
Paris — Rafa Nadal left German qualifier Yannick Maden no hope as he booked his ticket for the third round of the French Open in ruthless fashion with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
The defending champion, chasing a record-extending 12th title at Roland Garros, powered through the first two sets before being slightly bothered in the third.
But the second seed from Spain, who looks to become the first player to win a Grand Slam title 12 times, stayed businesslike when Maden broke back for 4-4 and the contest ended when the world No114 returned wide.
“He’s a good player, he had won four matches — three in qualifications — going into this match, he had gained confidence,” an always gracious Nadal told a courtside interviewer on Court Suzanne Lenglen, where he has never lost.
His only two defeats in 90 matches at Roland Garros happened on the main Court Philippe Chatrier.
“For me it is an important victory, playing here in Paris, at Roland Garros, is always incredible,” the 32-year-old said.
Nadal will take on David Goffin, the 27th seed, for a place in the fourth round. Goffin has never snatched a set from Nadal in three encounters on clay, but the reigning champion is wary of the Belgian’s threat.
“He’s a very complex player. He has all the shots. He’s a player who has an amazing career, and we practiced a lot of times,” Nadal told reporters. “We know each other well. He’s an opponent that you need to play very well against. He is quick. He has very good angles. It’s going to be, being honest, a big challenge to be in the third round. Here we are. I’m going to try my best to be ready for it.”
Second-seed Karolina Pliskova cruised into the third round with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Slovakian qualifier Kristina Kucova. The Czech will next face either Croatian 31st-seed Petra Martic or home hope Kristina Mladenovic for a spot in the second week.
Pliskova, a former Roland Garros semifinalist, arrived in Paris full of confidence after lifting the Italian Open title less than two weeks ago and she wasted no time in swatting aside Kucova in under an hour.