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US Open: Nadal beats Gasquet for 18th time in a row to reach last 16; Tiafoe next

Rafael Nadal beat Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 on Saturday night. He’ll play American Frances Tiafoe, the No 22 seed, in the next round

Rafael Nadal at the 2022 US Open in New York Rafael Nadal at the 2022 US Open in New York Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

World No 2 Rafael Nadal defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet for the 18th time in a row to advance to the fourth round of the US Open in New York City on Saturday night.

Nadal was at his dominating best, dropping just one game in the first two sets before Gasquet put on a braver fight in the third. But it was too little too late as Nadal romped to a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win in two hours and 17 minutes.

“It was my best match in the tournament, easy” Nadal said. “It’s an important improvement. But I need to keep going. The third set had been a challenge. He increased the level. I went through that and that’s a positive feeling.”

With the win, Nadal ties the best unbeaten tour-level head-to-head record for a male player in the Open Era, along with Novak Djokovic. The Serb has an 18-0 record over another Frenchman, Gael Monfils.

This was Nadal’s first straight sets win in New York this fortnight. He had defeated Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 and Italian Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in his first two matches.

Nadal to face Tiafoe in fourth round

Nadal will play American Frances Tiafoe, the No 22 seed, next. Ranked No 3 in the world, he has a strong chance to become No 1 at the end of the US Open. Even a loss in the next three rounds would lead him to a strong position, any of his rivals (Medvedev, Alcaraz, Ruud) having to reach the final or win the title to secure the No 1 spot.

Nadal has a 2-0 edge over Tiafoe in career head-to-head and has won both their previous encounters in straight sets. “But he improved”, Nadal said. “He’s more solid than before. He has more matches and years on the tour. He has experience now. He already competed in the biggest stages in advanced round, yeah.”

He’s a player who plays with a lot of passion, a lot of energy. He’s very quick. He can play very aggressive. I mean, he’s a player I will not beat if I don’t play well. I enjoy that because I need to be ready for it. I need to increase the amount of energy. I need to increase the level intensity on the court. I hope to be able to make that happen.”

The Spaniard won their 2019 Australian Open quarter-final 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and their round of 16 clash in Madrid the same year 6-3, 6-4.

US Open, New York City (Grand Slam), other third-round results

  • Marin Cilic (15) beat Daniel Evans (20): 7-6 (11), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5
  • Ilya Ivashka beat Lorenzo Musetti (26): 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
  • Frances Tiafoe beat Diego Schwartzman (14): 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4
  • Carlos Alcaraz (3) beat Jenson Brooksby: 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
  • Andrey Rublev (9) beat Denis Shapovalov (19): 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7)
  • Cameron Norrie (7) beat Holger Rune (28): 7-5, 6-4, 6-1
  • Daniil Medvedev (1) beat Yibing Wu (Q): 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
  • Nick Kyrgios (23) beat J.J. Wolf (WC): 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
  • Pablo Carreno Busta (12) beat Alex De Minaur (18): 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5)
  • Corentin Moutet (LL) beat Pedro Cachin: 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
  • Karen Khachanov (27) beat Jack Draper: 6-3, 4-6, 6-5 ret.
  • Casper Ruud (5) beat Tommy Paul (29): 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-0
  • Matteo Berrettini (13) beat Andy Murray: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3
  • Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat Daniel Elahi Galan (Q): 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
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