Four-time champion Rafael Nadal is safely through into the US Open fourth round. Rafa took down Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and 17 minutes to enter the last 16 for the 12th time in New York. Nadal toppled Gasquet for the 18th time in as many encounters on the Tour, winning 34 consecutive sets since Canada 2008!
They hit 15 double faults combined, but Nadal made the difference with his first serve. The Spaniard defended six out of seven break points and mounted the pressure on the other side. Rafa hit 35 winners and 23 unforced errors, claiming over half of the return points and turning them into seven breaks from 15 opportunities.
Richard made a great start and created three break chances in the encounter's first game with a smash winner at the net. Nadal fended them off with powerful hitting and held to avoid an early setback. Rafa grabbed a break in the second game to open a 2-0 lead and gain a boost.
Rafael Nadal is though to the last 16 in New York.
Richard squandered game points in the fourth game and fell 4-0 behind when his forehand refused to pass the net. Nadal fended off a break point in game five and delivered his third break of serve at 5-0 to wrap up the set with a bagel after 42 minutes.
Rafa served well in the second serve, and Richard could not follow that pace. The Frenchman netted a forehand in the second game to lose serve and allow the Spaniard to claim eight straight games. Nadal built a 6-0, 3-0 advantage with a service winner before Gasquet got his name on the scoreboard in the fourth game.
Richard netted a backhand in game six to fall 5-1 behind, and Rafa served for the set in the next one. World no. 3 placed a backhand crosscourt winner at the net to wrap up the set and move closer to the finish line after an hour and 20 minutes.
The Spaniard painted another backhand crosscourt winner at the start of the third set to start it with a break. Suddenly, Gasquet landed a backhand volley winner in the fourth game to pull the break back and lock the result at 2-2.
Both players served well in the next six games to remain neck and neck and reach 5-5. Nadal created three break chances in the 11th game after the rival's backhand error and wasted them. The Spaniard seized the fourth to deliver the crucial break and open a 6-5 advantage. Rafa held at 15 in game 12 to seal the deal and advance into the last 16.