World no. 1 Rafael Nadal remained on the course towards the 11th Roland Garros crown in 2018 following a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Richard Gasquet. It was Nadal's 26th victory from 28 matches that year and his 233rd Major win.
Rafa needed an hour and 58 minutes to wrap up his 82nd Roland Garros triumph and reach the last 16 in Paris for the 13th time from 14 trips to Paris. Rafa and Richard met for the 16th time on the Tour, and the Spaniard remained perfect against his great rival from the junior days.
Also, Nadal overshadowed his previous record of consecutive sets won in Paris. He had 32 between 2007 and 2007 and raised it to 34 after taking all three sets against Gasquet. Rafa became the sixth player in the Open era with 40 Major fourth-round appearances, joining Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi.
Rafael Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets at 2018 Roland Garros.
Rafa had 34 winners and 15 unforced errors, and Gasquet was nowhere near that pace. He fired 14 winners with 20 mistakes and failed to impose his shots and move the Spaniard from his comfort zone.
The Spaniard lost 11 points in his games and got broken once. He was almost perfect on the return, converting six out of seven break points and controlling the scoreboard from start to finish to sail into the last 16. The match kicked off in the worst possible manner for the home player.
Richard dropped the opening 12 points and found himself 3-0 down in no time. Rafa raced into a 5-0 lead after a dominant performance in the opening 20 minutes and moved closer to the opener. Suddenly, Richard won three games in a row and pulled one break back in game seven when Rafa served for the set.
The Spaniard stayed calm and closed it with a solid hold in game nine for 6-3. Nadal lost three points on serve in set number two and broke Gasquet in games one and three to forge the advantage. The reigning champion served well in the rest of the set and closed it in 40 minutes to move closer to the finish line.
The final set proved to be the longest, but it was all about Nadal again. He served well and kept the pressure on Richard, who got broken in games one and three. The fifth game was the most extended, and it brought seven deuces.
Richard fended off two break points to avoid an even bigger disaster before Rafa emerged at the top with a hold in game eight.