Nadal nearly flawless but Djokovic struggles

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, produced one of the most lopsided wins of his clay career, with the nine-time French Open victor crushing Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

Nadal shrugged off the momentary blip to take a two-set lead, while he raced through the final set to win after one hour and 30 minutes on court. But Nadal makes tennis look so simple on clay, much to the misfortune of Basilashvili, who is ranked a creditable 63rd in the ATP world rankings.

Nadal hit 27 winners, majority off his lasso forehand, which is in ominously good shape. In Round 4 the King of Clay will take on compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal remain on course for a colossal semi-final meeting at the French Open after both players reached the second week in Paris with vastly contrasting third-round wins at Roland Garros.

In the last of the first-round matches, outsider Renzo Olivo broke French hearts as he finished off an upset of 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (8-6), 6-4 in a match stopped for darkness the night before in the fifth set.

As men's tennis searches for the face of its next generation, perhaps someone who one day will fill a void left by folks such as Roger Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, there are those who believe Kyrgios, 22, has the flashy game and attention-attracting personality to fit the bill.

Two more breaks put him in control and a third gave him a spot in the last 16, where he will face either France's Lucas Pouille or Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

A ruthless Rafael Nadal permitted just one game demolishing Nikoloz Basilashvili to roar into the Roland Garros fourth round. "He told me he had dealt with this in his first rounds". Raonic will tackle Pablo Carrena Busta next, after the Spaniard ousted 11th seed Dimitrov in straight sets.

"I'll take it when I can have it", he said. The way I ended the match and last couple of games was positive. "I made good progress and am getting better and better", he said.

Elsewhere in the men's draw there were early retirements for David Goffin and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in their third round matches against Horacio Zeballos and Milos Raonic. Goffin managed to get to the ball, lifting a lob over the Argentine but slipped in the process, hurting his ankle.

"I'm sure he'll help Novak as well". The umpire announced minutes later that the 26-year-old was forced to retire.

With a track record like that, it's no surprise that Nadal has the best win percentage on clay in the Open era.

Sixth seed Dominic Thiem charged into round three with a routine win over Simone Bolelli, sweeping the Italian aside 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. He wound up with 55 unforced errors to 43 winners, and all sorts of issues on his backhand wing, which produced 33 of those miscues, all under the watchful eye of new coach Andre Agassi.

The fourth-seeded and the reigning champion outscored Putintseva 26-14 in winners, and reached the 73 per cent in winning on first serve, 24 percent higher than Putintseva.

Muguruza will next play French 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic, who outlasted American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 yesterday, for a place in the last eight in Paris.

  • Carolyn Briggs