Nadal advances to third round
PARIS—Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal improved his French Open record to 61-1 after beating big-hitting Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 today.
The Spaniard’s only defeat at Roland Garros was in the fourth round against Robin Soderling five years ago.
“It was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today,” Nadal noted.
“I am happy with the way I resisted,” he added. “When I had to play long points, I did well.
“When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well.”
Although Nadal broke Thiem’s serve seven times overall, Thiem’s powerful groundstrokes caused Nadal problems and he applauded the 20-year-old as he left centre court.
“He will have his chances to become a top star and fight for these tournaments,” Nadal said.
“I really fought back against his attacks.”
With Nadal serving at 5-1 in the first set, Thiem saved a set point with a backhand volley at the net.
Then he forced a break point with a forehand winner into the right corner and won the game with a replica stroke on the next point.
Nadal sealed the second set with a forehand winner down the line, but Thiem broke him again and then held for a 3-1 lead in the third.
That prompted Nadal to step up a gear and secure two-consecutive breaks.
“I continued to deploy an attacking style and him move around the court,” Nadal said.
“I put pressure on him.”
Nadal, who sealed victory on his second match point, next faces Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who beat Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, last year’s runner-up to Nadal, Briton’s Andy Murray, seeded seventh, and No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France also advanced to the third round in straight sets.
In the women’s draw, fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova won 6-4, 6-4 against Marina Erakovic while No. 6 Jelena Jankovic won 7-5, 6-0 against Japan’s Kurumi Nara.
No. 10 Sara Errani of Italy—a runner-up in 2012 and semi-finalist last year—won 6-2, 6-4 against Germany’s Dinah Pfizenmaier.
Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who beat second-seeded Li Na in the first round, followed up with a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win against American Alison Riske.
No. 15 Sloane Stephens of the U.S., No. 23 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, and former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia also advanced.
Kuznetsova faces Kvitova in the third round.