Thu, 29 Oct 2020

Nadal, Thiem stay on collision course at French Open

Field Level Media
01 Oct 2020, 07:19 GMT+10

Defending and 12-time champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the French Open with a dominant win over American Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 on Wednesday in Paris.

For Nadal, the second seed, it was his 95th win in 97 matches on the clay courts at Roland Garros.

The 34-year-old Spaniard, seeking to tie Roger Federer's all-time mark for Grand Slam titles at 20, was in command from the start. He won points on 76 percent of his first serves, compared to 48 percent for McDonald. He also broke McDonald's serve in seven of his eight opportunities, helping him to win 11 games in a row, and he hit 31 winners against 15 unforced errors.

Next up for Nadal is Italian Stefano Travaglia, who beat former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-2 in a match that lasted almost four hours.

Nadal's postgame comments should leave Travaglia a bit worried that Nadal is looking to move into another gear.

"I am just trying my best every single day. I am working hard in every practice to try to be better and better in every match," Nadal said.

No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, who won the U.S. Open earlier this month, defeated Jack Sock 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to advance to the third round.

Thiem has lost the past two semifinals at Roland Garros to Nadal, and the two remain on a collision course to meet again this year in the semis.

Thiem fought off three set points and rattled off five straight points in the third-set tiebreak to win.

"I'm very happy," Thiem said in an interview on the court after the match. "I messed it up a bit in the third set, up 4-3 and 40/15. I found myself in the tie-break and he played very well, particularly in the second and third sets. I was lucky to save the three set points in the tiebreak."

Next up for Thiem is No. 28 seed Casper Ruud, a 21-year-old Norwegian who eliminated another American, Tommy Paul, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, in two hours and 36 minutes. Each player broke the other's serve four times.

The sixth seed, German Alexander Zverev, overcame 56 unforced errors and 11 double faults to beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted just under four hours. Both men won 61 percent of points on their own serve and 164 total points.

Waiting for Zverev in the third round is Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato, who lost to Thiem in the 2018 semifinals. He defeated Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

No. 12 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina knocked out Lorenzo Giustino of Italy 6-1, 7-5, 6-0 while 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland defeated German Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

The No. 21 seed, John Isner, was eliminated with his loss to Sebastian Korda, who won the all-American match 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Federico Coria of Argentina beat Benoit Paire, the No. 23 seed and a home-country favorite in France, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

--Field Level Media

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