ATP Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal follows Novak Djokovic into R4

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ATP Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal follows Novak Djokovic into R4

The 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal is safely through into the last 16 in Paris. Rafa will battle in the fourth round for the 17th time from 18 trips to his favorite Major, securing his 301st Major victory and the 108th in Paris.

Rafa took down Botic Van De Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes to advance and set the clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the next round. Struggling with a foot injury, Nadal has played well so far in Paris, but he will have to raise his level even more if he wants to beat three tough opponents in the upcoming rounds and reach his 14th title clash in the French capital.

Rafa claimed 40 out of 46 points behind the first serve and got broken twice from three chances offered to his rival. Botic could not take advantage of them, as he lost almost half of the points behind the initial shot and gave serve away six times from 12 chances given to Rafa.

Rafael Nadal is through to the last 16 at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard had 25 winners and 13 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely, especially in the opening two sets. Nadal built a massive lead in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, while Van De Zandschulp stayed in touch in the most prolonged rallies.

The Dutch player placed a deep return in the opener's first game to deliver an early lead. The Spaniard responded in the same way in the second game to break back at 15 and get his name on the scoreboard. Both players served well in the next three games, and Rafa forged a 4-2 lead with a break in game six.

Nadal forced the rival's mistake with a mighty forehand in game seven and closed the opener with a service winner at 5-3 after 35 minutes. Rafa stormed over his opponent in set number two, delivering one good hold after another and taking charge on the return.

He broke Van De Zandschulp in the third game and extended the advantage with another at 3-1 with a forehand crosscourt winner. Botic saved a set point on his serve in game seven before Rafa closed the set with an ace for 6-3, 6-2 in no time.

The Spaniard raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set before losing ground a bit and allowing the opponent to reduce the deficit to 5-4. Nadal served for the match in game ten and saved a break point before sealing the deal with a smash winner for a place in the last 16.