Four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the French Open on Thursday as he defeated 20-year old Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
The top-seeded Spaniard continued his dominance at Roland Garros and improved his record to 61-1 at the French Open. Although he did not smash any aces, he used a powerful first serve to dictate the tempo of the match, and kept Thiem on his heels all afternoon. He won 67 percent (36-of-54) of his first serve points, never allowing the young Austrian to swing the momentum.
Nadal also broke Thiem’s serve seven times, converting 70 percent of his break point opportunities to clinch the second-round victory. Thiem led 3-1 in the third set before Nadal broke his serve twice, and began to pull away from the young gun.
Despite the straight set win for Nadal, Thiem used successful groundstrokes to give Nadal some trouble and drew some praise from the world number one.
“He was able to hit the ball very strong from the backhand and forehand,” said Nadal after the match. “He has completely everything to become a champion.”
Nadal now moves into a third round and one step closer to becoming the first player to win five straight French Open crowns. He draws a matchup with Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to move on.
Last year’s French Open runner up David Ferrer also moved on Thursday, defeating Italy’s Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 to push his way into the third round. It is the 10th straight year he has reached the third round of the tournament.
He smashed 22 winners and saved all four-break points he faced to overpower ranked qualifier Bolelli. Despite the win, Ferrer says he needs to play better if he wants to continue to move further in the tournament.
“I didn’t really feel that great,” said Ferrer. “I have to gain confidence, to start with, and on the short points I have to hit the balls harder. I hope that I’ll improve my game.”
Ferrer lost to Nadal in last year’s final, and will next face 32nd seed Andreas Seppi who knocked off Juan Monaco to record his 250th career ATP World Tour victory.
There are a number of Americans still playing in France, as well. John Isner and Donald Young find themselves in the third round at Roland Garros, as Isner defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Wednesday in a long four-set battle, while Donald Young took down 26th seeded Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. John Sock and Steve Anderson play Thursday in an all-American match for a spot in the third round.
19th seeded South African Kevin Anderson also pushed through into the third round, fighting off the home crowd to defeat France’s Axel Michon 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, while a number of other notable names such as Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco and Philipp Kohlschreiber are all set to take the court later Thursday.