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Sunday, October 25, 2020

French Open 2020: Rafael Nadal breezes into third round, Thiem wins in straight sets

The Spanish second seed, also looking to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 singles Grand Slam titles, was never bothered on court Philippe Chatrier.

By: Reuters | Updated: October 1, 2020 4:26:33 pm
Rafael Nadal in action. (File)

Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title with a 6-1 6-0 6-3 crushing of American Mackenzie McDonald to advance into the third round on Wednesday.

The Spanish second seed, also looking to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 singles Grand Slam titles, was never bothered on court Philippe Chatrier.

The claycourt master played deep, using his forehand to devastating effect to set up a meeting with Japanese Kei Nishikori or Italian Stefano Travaglia.

After world number 236 McDonald won the second game, Nadal bagged 11 games in a row to move two sets up and despite some resistance from his opponent early in the third set, he had no trouble improving his win-loss record at Roland Garros to 95-2.

“My objective is to play as well as I can. It was a good match for me today. I’m very happy,” said Nadal.

“Then it’s another difficult match. We’ll see, I hope I’ll be at a good level. It’s always special for me to play here in Paris, on court Philippe Chatrier.”

Thiem saves set points to beat American Sock in straight sets

World number three Dominic Thiem survived a third set wobble and had to save three set points to beat American Jack Sock in straight sets on Wednesday and book his French Open third round spot.

U.S. Open winner Thiem needed just 25 minutes to break Sock three times and storm through the first set 6-1.

The third-seed, beaten by 19-times Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the last two finals in Paris, was brimming with confidence after winning his first major at the U.S. Open earlier this month.

Sock, whose injury-hit 2019 saw him tumble down the rankings to his current 310, tried to mix it up in the second set, hitting several superb drop shots to make it more of a battle.

But he was ultimately helpless against Thiem’s baseline power and far superior fitness, losing the second 6-3.

Thiem, however, lost his focus in the third, was broken twice and spilled more than twice as many unforced errors than in the two previous sets combined, allowing Sock two breaks to lead 5-4 and 6-5.

The Austrian, trailing 6-3 in the tiebreak, saved three set points and finished the game seconds later with the first chance.

Anisimova steamrolls into French Open third round

Teenager Amanda Anisimova muscled her way into the third round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-0 demolition of fellow American Bernarda Pera on Wednesday.

The 25th seed, whose match was moved to court Philippe Chatrier after Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament with an injury, was barely bothered as she set up a meeting with either world number one Simona Halep or another Romanian, Irina-Camelia Begu.

Anisimova beat Halep in straight sets in the quarter-finals last year.

The 19-year-old is the only semi-finalist from the last edition left in the draw after champion Ashleigh Barty opted against travelling to Paris and Britain’s Johanna Konta and Czech Marketa Vondrousova were knocked out in the first round.

After an early trade of breaks, Anisimova stole her opponent’s serve again to move 3-1 up, easily bagging the opening set.

The second set was also a mere formality as she progressed having dropped only four games in two matches.

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