PARIS: Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal lost just one game in a ruthless display to reach the French Open last 16 on Thursday, while Garbine Muguruza gained further momentum in the defence of her title.
Nadal demonstrated why he is once more considered the overwhelming favourite at Roland Garros with a brutal demolition of Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The Spaniard romped to a 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 win, narrowly missing out on becoming just the sixth man in the Open era to record a “triple bagel”.
“Perfection? I don’t know about that,” said Nadal, who plans to celebrate his 31st birthday on Saturday by watching Real Madrid play Juventus in the Champions League final.
“I think I played very well today. The most important thing is to be through and I played my best match in a while.
“Tomorrow at 8.45 I’m going to be in front of the TV for sure supporting my team, hoping that Real Madrid will win another time.”
Nadal will meet compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Reigning champion Novak Djokovic faces Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman later, with the world number 41 through to the third round of a major for the first time.
Djokovic has encountered few problems this week at Roland Garros and hopes his fledgling partnership with American great Andre Agassi will inject a much-needed boost.
“I think I reached the stage of my life where I just need to find always new ways of motivating myself, inspiring myself, and having Agassi on board and doing some changes is definitely bringing me that,” said the Serb.
Goffin suffers freak injury
Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic advanced to the last 16 when Guillermo Garcia-Lopez retired with a thigh injury in the second set.
Raonic, a quarter-finalist in Paris in 2014, led 6-1, 1-0 before the veteran Spaniard, ranked 153, quit after just 28 minutes.
He will play Spanish 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who dumped out Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Belgian 10th seed David Goffin suffered a nasty ankle injury when he got caught up in court covers, forcing him to abandon his third-round tie with Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.
Goffin was leading 5-4 when he chased down the ball towards the back of the Suzanne Lenglen court.
However, his right foot got horribly jammed beneath the rolled-up tarpaulins before he tumbled into the wall and a linesman’s chair.
The 26-year-old was helped from the court by two officials and retired in the locker room.
Muguruza swept into round four of the women’s draw with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Kazakh 27th seed Yulia Putintseva.
The Spaniard closed out victory with an ace in a match that featured 11 breaks of serve in 20 games played.
“I think the more matches I play and the toughest victories I think gives you self-confidence, successful feeling out there,” said Muguruza.
“I think it’s important with all the three matches that I played that are not easy at all.”
Muguruza plays either French 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic or American Shelby Rogers, who she beat in last year’s quarter-finals, for a place in the last eight.