French Open: Rafael Nadal cruised into last 16 with win over Nikoloz Bashashvili [PHOTOS]

(AP) – Rafael Nadal dropped just one game on his way to a straight-sets victory over Nikoloz Basilazhvili.

It was Rafa’s 100th best-of-five-sets match on clay. He has a 98-2 win-loss record.

With the rainclouds rolling in, Rafa seemed keen to get his third-round match over as quickly as possible and the No. 4 seed took 90 minutes to win 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

Rafa after his easy third-round win:

I don’t know if it was perfection. I went on court thinking it was going to be a tough match … I believe I played the best match since a while.

It is always important to be through, that’s the most important thing, but obviously when you have positive feelings it is even more important.

Basilashvili had been playing well, he won against Gilles Simon in the first round who is tough opponent and also Viktor Troicki.

I’m happy because I had never played against him and I knew it would be tough.

Source: AP

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PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal Beats Robin Haase in Straight Sets at 2017 French Open

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the third round of the French Open by beating Dutchman Robin Haase 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 49 minutes. He was too strong on his favourite surface, making only 13 unforced errors over the course of the match.

After the match, Rafa said:

I tried to be strong always, but it is not possible. I work hard during all of my career, sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t. Since the beginning of the season this year… I should be very happy with how things are going.

When you are here in Paris, one of the best cities in the world and you have a day off, it is always good. I will practice and enjoy the city a little bit.

Rafa’s reward for his latest victory is a third-round meeting opposite Nikoloz Basilashvili.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal wins French Open opener against Benoit Paire

(AP) – Rafael Nadal’s search for an unprecedented 10th title at the French Open got off to a winning start as he beat Benoit Paire of France in straight sets.

The fourth-seeded Rafa played some brilliant shots but had to survive a minor scare in the second set on his way to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Paire, who is ranked 45th, dropped his serve at the beginning of the second but broke twice in quick succession to take a 3-1 lead.

But Rafa, who saved three more break points on his next service game, broke back twice and went on to take the set. The Spaniard took the final set in 31 minutes.

After the match, Rafa said:

The most important thing is to win. If it’s in three, it’s better. I’m sorry for Benoit, he’s dangerous, talented. He can change the rhythm of the point. Today I started strong, he had more mistakes than usual off the forehand. He had a try for 5-3 in the second set, I played a good point. From there it was difficult. (via Roland Garros)

In the second round Rafa will play Dutchman Robin Haase, who was a straight sets winner over the Australian Alex De Minaur in his opening match.

Source: AP

Roland Garros: Saturday practice pictures

Some pictures from Rafael Nadal’s practice session on Saturday.

Dominic Thiem ends Rafael Nadal’s 17-win streak in Rome triumph

(Eurosport) – Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal is out of the Italian Open after a straight-set defeat by Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals. It is Rafa’s first defeat of the season on clay and only the third and fourth sets that he has dropped on clay across the entire season. It also brings to an end Rafa’s run of 17 straight victories.

The Austrian was dominant in the opening set as he raced into a 5-1 lead. Rafa regained some composure and managed to fight back to 5-4 but he couldn’t prevent Thiem taking the set. The pair served out the opening six games of the second but Rafa found a break and hold in the seventh and eighth to open up a 5-3 lead. He then break Rafa’s service game again to secure a memorable victory.

Source: Eurosport

Rafael Nadal through in Rome after Nicolas Almagro retires

(AP) — Rafael Nadal’s winning streak was extended to 16 matches when Nicolas Almagro retired in the first set on Wednesday at the Italian Open.

Rafa was leading 3-0, 15-30 when Almagro bent over and grasped his left knee. Our champ went over to Almagro’s side of the net to ask what was wrong and consoled his opponent. Almagro then got some medical attention at his chair but quickly retired from the second-round match.

Rafa has won consecutive clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. He’s aiming for an eighth title at the Foro Italico as he prepares for the French Open, which starts in less than two weeks.

Rafa will next face either 13th-seeded Jack Sock or Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.

Source: The Associated Press

Rafael Nadal has arrived in Rome

Rafael Nadal has arrived in Rome for the 2017 Italian Open. Our champ was welcomed by fans on Monday afternoon. He will play Nicolas Almagro in the second round on Wednesday.