Paris: Rafa Nadal left German qualifier Yannick Maden no hope as he booked his ticket for the third round of the French Open in ruthless fashion with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
The defending champion, chasing a record-extending 12th title at Roland Garros, powered through the first two sets before being slightly bothered in the third.
But the second seed from Spain, who looks to become the first player to win a Grand Slam title 12 times, stayed business like when Maden broke back for 4-4 and the contest ended when the world No. 114 returned wide.
“He’s a good player, he had won four matches — three in qualifications — going into this match, he had gained confidence,” an always gracious Nadal told a courtside interviewer on Court Suzanne Lenglen, where he has never lost.
His only two defeats in 90 matches here happened on the main Court Philippe Chatrier.
“For me it is an important victory, playing here in Paris, at Roland Garros, is always incredible,” the 32-year-old added.
Nadal will take on Belgian David Goffin, the 27th seed, for a place in the fourth round.
Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas dug deep for a tense four-set victory over plucky Bolivian Hugo Dellien. The rising Greek star, expected to reach the latter stages at Roland Garros, fought back to win 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 on Court Simonne Mathieu.
The 20-year-old started strongly with an early break, but appeared unsettled following a medical timeout for Dellien after the world No. 86 appeared to twist his ankle.
Dellien quickly sealed the opening set, but Tsitsipas raced through the next two sets and seemingly towards victory. Despite letting a 4-2 lead in the fourth set slip, the 25-year-old Dellien just would not go away, saving three match points from 0-40 down in the 10th game to level at 5-5.
But Tsitsipas did secure a third-round spot in Paris for the first time in his opponent’s next service game, curling a forehand up the line on his fourth match point.
In the women’s draw, former champion Garbine Muguruza and last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens both posted straight-set wins. On a sunny morning in the French capital, Muguruza beat Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Seeded 19th this year, Muguruza won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 when she upset Serena Williams in the final. The Spanish player is expected to face tougher opposition in her next match against ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who progressed to the third round without hitting a shot.
Svitolina was set to play 67th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova but organisers said the Ukrainian player withdrew with “intercostal pain.” She twice reached the quarter-finals in Paris.
Stephens, who lost to Simona Halep in last year’s final, needed a bit more time to prevail 6-1, 7-6 against the gritty but error-prone Sara Sorribes Tormo.
In a match that featured 11 breaks of serve, Stephens could not hold on to a 3-0 lead in the second set and Sorribes Tormo twice had the opportunity to level at 1-set apiece on her serve. A turning point came in the 11th game when the 22-year-old Spaniard hit two consecutive double-faults to drop serve.
The seventh-seeded Stephens hit a series of winners in the tiebreaker and sealed the match with a backhand down the line.
“Just decided to keep it exciting, to play a bit longer on that court,” Stephens joked. “I missed it from last year.”