Awesome Nadal Races In Roland Garros Fourth Round
Fourth seed wastes little time on Court Philippe Chatrier
Nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal fired a warning to his rivals on Friday when he stepped up his bid for ‘La Decima’ with a flawless performance in his 100th best-of-five-sets clay-court match (98-2). The Spanish superstar overwhelmed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 for a place in the fourth round.
"I think I played great," said Nadal. "I think at the beginning of the match, I thought my opponent was not playing bad, but I was able to produce winners, to play with no mistakes, to play very long. I hit with a very high intensity on all the shots. It was a great match for me. I won, with that score, against a player who had already beaten [Gilles] Simon and [Viktor] Troicki. I played very well."
Nadal only once experienced any difficulties on his serve, recovering from 0/40 in his penultimate service game, in the fourth game of the third set. He lost just 12 of his service points – 22/29 on first serve and 19/24 on second serve – and struck 27 winners for victory in 90 minutes.
"He's a much, much better player than I am obviously," said Basilashvili. And it was going to take a lot of work if I wanted to play a good match against him. To be on Centre Court was amazing, I enjoyed it a lot. The score today was quite disappointing, of course. But it's very difficult to play against him because balls are coming very high. I had a couple plays in my head about how to play against him, but I couldn't find any rhythm. I couldn't hurt him in any place. I was trying to change some things a little bit, but in every aspect of the game I could not hurt him. He was playing his game."
Nadal will next challenge fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who needed just over two hours to defeat Czech Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. “I feel good to reach the fourth round,” said the No. 17 seed Bautista Agut. “My returns were really good [and] tactically I think I played well.
Rafa is playing his best tennis at present on clay. What I will try and do is play my tennis, be aggressive, and I will try and play fast, and then we will see what happens. It is going to be very complicated.”
Nadal, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on Saturday, is now 75-2 at Roland Garros and is five match wins away from 850 career victories (845-180 mark).
"It's always great to celebrate the birthday here," said Nadal. "I think only once or twice - twice, I think, I didn't celebrate here and that was not the best feeling. It's going to be good news that I will be here tomorrow. I'm just happy for that. Thirty one is a number already, and I am happy that tomorrow I have the day off. I am going to have the chance to spend with family and the team."
Go inside the tournament at RolandGarros.com.
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