French Open: Nadal, Djokovic breeze into 4th round, seek quarterfinal tickets

Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal delivered a statement performance to breeze past Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 6-2 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the French Open.There were some whispered suggestions that the big-hitting Van de Zandschulp could cause problems for Nadal, but those theories were blown out of the water as the Spaniard produced his most impressive display of the tournament so far.Although during his wins over Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet, Nadal’s weight of shot was up – there were times when his length was short and radar slightly awry. 

Those wrinkles were ironed out against Van de Zandschulp as he dominated his opponent in all departments – and secured victory in two hours and 11 minutes.
Given the chronic foot complaint Nadal is managing, rapid victories could be crucial later in the event.Van de Zandschulp broke in the opening game, to pique the interest of those who said he could be a problem for Nadal, but he threw in some wild groundstrokes in the following game and handed back the break.

The Dutchman’s power is a weapon and also a handicap, because as well as the wild shots it also handed his opponent pace to feed off.In the fifth game, a Van de Zandschulp thunderbolt was returned with interest and one game later Nadal secured a second break to take control of the set.After the blip of the opening game, normal service was resumed as Nadal wrapped up the opening set in 35 minutes.

Van de Zandschulp continued with his gameplan of playing attacking tennis in the second set in a bid to rattle Nadal. It had no impact, as he coughed up seven unforced errors and allowed the 21-time Grand Slam champion to absorb and use his power – and Nadal showed power of his own by wrapping up the second set with an ace.

The No. 26 seed did not throw in the towel, but he was a spent force in the third set and two rapid breaks of serve set Nadal on the way to a comfortable win – albeit Van de Zandschulp did make the Spaniard work in the later stages – and a meeting with Felix Auger-Aliassime round four.Earlier, Novak Djokovic beat his opponent Aljaz Bedene to qualify for fourth round where he will face Diego Schwartzman.