Ruthless Nadal storms into last 16

by rolandgarros.com

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal ran rampant over Nikoloz Basilashvili for the loss of just one game in the third round.

Rafael Nadal concedes he is no mathematical genius – “it was the only subject that I failed” – but he sure has a way with numbers.

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His 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 obliteration of Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili on Philippe-Chatrier Court on Wednesday was profound whichever way you slice and dice the digits; the third time he has dealt a ruthless double bagel on his way past a hapless opponent at Roland-Garros.

The fourth seed was in no mood for a crack of thunder and breaking clouds above complicating his bid for a 10th Roland-Garros crown on Friday – intermittent raindrops late in the third set of his quick-fire progression into the fourth round were the only distraction in an otherwise flawless display.

“Today was one of the best matches I have ever played, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “I am really happy because I have a really good feeling. Every day my training is going very well, my practice. When I have a match, I play very well.”

It was the Spaniard’s 100th best-of-five-set victory on clay – 98 wins for only two defeats. They’re numbers he was not aware of until the milestone was raised afterwards.

“That doesn’t mean that the numbers don’t worry me,” he said. “Numbers that I have on clay are important and I am very happy [about] all the things that have happened to me, my whole career.

“But especially on this surface, I’ve been very happy all the special things that have happened.”

A huge cheer went up when 63rd-ranked Basilashvili sent a blazing off-forehand winner past Nadal and an even bigger roar when he brought up three game points at 0-6, 0-5. You can imagine the loudest roar of the day when Nadal rolled a forehand long to finally let the Tbilisi native on the board.

The double bagel was averted, yet Nadal continued his absolute domination from the baseline soon after, sealing the set and surging to 5-0 in the third set.

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Stepping up to serve for the match, a mighty crack of thunder momentarily stalled the Spaniard.

The only number on his mind at this point was time. This is one match he wanted wrapped up before any rain set in.

“Today was one of the best matches I have ever played, without a doubt.”

The Georgian’s tough day on Chatrier was ended six points later. Nadal’s countryman and good friend Roberto Bautista Agut is next.

“In the beginning of the match he was not playing bad, and I was able to produce winners, to play with no mistakes, to play very long,” Nadal said.

“Very high intensity in all the shots. It was a great match for me. I won with that score against a player that already won against [Gilles] Simon and [Viktor] Troicki … I played very well.”

It makes turning 31 on Saturday more cause for celebration than his unlucky 30th, which came little more than a week after his untimely Roland-Garros third-round withdrawal last year.

“Thirty-one is a number already, and I am happy that tomorrow I have the day off,” he said.

“Celebrate? Of course. This is Roland-Garros. I will try perhaps to go out for dinner with my family. But it’s an important week for me here, and I think I do need to remain focused above all.”

It’s still a numbers game, after all, for this on-court genius.

 

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About Alex

RaFan for Life

Posted on June 2, 2017, in Roland Garros, tennis and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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