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Rafael Nadal beats Richard Gasquet to reach French Open 2021 Round 3: I played a very good level of tennis

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Defending champion Rafael Nadal was at his absolute best on Thursday night as he demolished local hero Richard Gasquet to reach Round 3 of the French Open 2021 in Paris. Nadal celebrated his 35th birthday by handing his longtime pal a 6-0 7-5 6-2 masterclass at an empty Philippe Chatrier stadium.

Nadal, the 13-time winner at Roland Garros, stretched his unbeaten record against Gasquet to 17-0. The Spaniard hasn’t even dropped a set against the Spaniard in the past 12 win since 2008.

“I think I played a great first set, one of the best of the claycourt season, in my opinion. No mistakes, high intensity, winners, playing long.

“Positive feelings. Of course it would be better to play with a crowd, but for the rest, I think for most of the match I played a very good level of tennis,” Nadal told reporters after 102nd win at Roland Garros.

The third-seeded Nadal seeks a record 21st major to move one clear of Federer, and next faces unseeded Cameron Norrie. Nadal has not dropped a set at this tournament since beating Dominic Thiem in the 2019 final.

SWIATEK ALSO THROUGH

Defending champion Iga Swiatek said she felt like she could do anything she wanted with ball after reaching the women’s singles third round following an ominous 6-1 6-1 demolition of Rebecca Petersony.

The 20-year-old needed only 61 minutes to overwhelm Peterson, the only Swede in the women’s draw, sending out a clear message to those wanting to snatch the title.

Swiatek, who took Roland Garros by storm last October to become the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title, led 5-0 in both sets in a near-perfect display full of power, flair and control.

“I felt like I had would have a good day today since I woke up this morning, I knew I’m going to be in the right mood.

“I did my routines before the match. Then when I was on the court, I just felt the ball perfectly. I felt like I could do anything with it. So I’m pretty happy that I had this attitude right now,” Swiatek told reporters.

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