Rafael Nadal continues bid for 11th French Open title with emphatic win over Guido Pella

World No 1 Rafael Nadal, the 10-time champion, pummelled fellow left-hander Guido Pella losing just four games in the second round of the French Open.

A comprehensive 6-2 6-1 6-1 victory for the Spaniard set up a meeting with 27th seed Richard Gasquet.

Nadal was almost caught cold in the very first game as he was forced to save four break points, but he quickly found his groove and broke for a 4-2 lead.

World No 78 Pella did his best to resist the 31-year-old, saving four set points, but hit a forehand into the net on the fifth.

The rest of the match was totally one-sided, as the 16-time Grand Slam champion finished with 24 forehand winners and has now won his last 27 sets at Roland Garros.

Nadal will be looking forward to taking on old junior rival Gasquet, having beaten the Frenchman 15 times from as many meetings in the pro ranks.

“I’m very happy, I played more aggressive than in the first round, so I’m very happy with that,” said Nadal.

“Richard (Gasquet) is a very good friend. We’ve known each other since we were 11 or 12 years old so it will be very special to play again against him on such an important court for my career.”

Third seed Marin Cilic reached the third round for the eighth time with a 6-2 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 win over Polish qualifier and world No 188 Hubert Hurkacz.

Former US Open champion Cilic cracked 48 winners but also 52 unforced errors in a topsy-turvy performance, but did enough to set up a meeting with American Steve Johnson.

“I was in control but played a poor third set so I had to start all over again,” said 29-year-year-old Cilic. “I had to be positive, positive, positive. I screamed just to let it all out and I got the break in the 11th game.”

Dominic Thiem, a semi-finalist in 2016 and 2017, racked up his 31st win of the year.

The Austrian, the only man to beat Nadal on clay this year, saw off Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 2-6 6-4 6-4 in a match which had been suspended overnight after the third set.

Next up for the seventh-ranked Thiem is Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

Highly-rated Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov was knocked out by Germany’s Maximilian Marterer 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-4.

“I’m disappointed with the loss, but like I said, I’m only 19, so not every week is going to be a semi-finals,” Shapovalov told reporters. “It’s going to be ups and downs. I just have to keep enjoying it, keep enjoying the journey.”

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