Rafael Nadal, the defending men’s champion here, 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, who is ranked No. 1, is gaining momentum in his bid for a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros, and Gasquet never looked remotely like stopping him.
Nadal, of Spain, inflicted a 16th defeat on Gasquet, who has lost every encounter dating to 2004.
“He’s someone I really appreciate,” said Nadal, who has been friends with Gasquet since their junior days. “I’m just sorry that he had to play me again here, but that’s the sport.”
Gasquet, a Frenchman seeded 27th, has not even taken a set off Nadal in 11 consecutive 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.
Nadal clinched the 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.
Also, the unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov completed a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win against 15th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France and next faces No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany.
Mischa Zverev couldn’t keep up with his younger brother, ending their bid to become the first siblings in 27 years to reach the fourth round at the same Grand Slam tournament. The United States Open runner-up Kevin Anderson beat Mischa Zverev, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).
No. 3 Marin Cilic eliminated Steve Johnson of the United States, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Cilic reached the final at Wimbledon last year and at the Australian Open in January. The big-serving Croat next faces No. 18 Fabio Fognini, who beat Kyle Edmund, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Juan Martín del Potro eased into the fourth round by beating No. 31 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.
Del Potro, the fifth-seeded Argentine, is looking in strong form as he eyes a potential semifinal showdown with Nadal.
Del Potro had eight aces and broke his Spanish opponent’s serve six times on Court Philippe Chatrier, taking just 29 minutes to win the third set.
Del Potro next plays ninth-seeded John Isner, the last American left in the men’s singles after eliminating the last Frenchman standing. He beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 7-6 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (4), ending fading French hopes as the evening sun dimmed on Court No. 18.
Isner had 17 aces and saved the only break point he faced in a tight contest, breaking Herbert’s serve just once in seven attempts.
It promises to be a hard-hitting match, with big serves and booming forehands, when Isner meets del Potro in the fourth round.
They have played 10 times, with del Potro leading, 6-4, in their head-to-heads dating to 2008.