An all-Spaniard clash is one of the highlights in the men’s tournament on Sunday with tournament favourite Rafael Nadal up against the No. 17 seed Roberto Bautista Agut. It will be just their second meeting with Nadal winning the previous match in Madrid 3 years ago.
Despite being a mainstay of the top 20 for a while now, it has never seemed like Bautista Agut could rise another level and compete at the deep end of slams on a regular basis, as his failure to make a single slam quarter final in his career to date shows. This will be his 8th fourth round appearance and given his opponent, make it 0-8 at this stage seems inevitable. Wins over Jiri Vesely, Mikhael Kukushkin and John Millman are far from the toughest route to a fourth round but there was rarely danger for him on the way aside from giving away bad sets in the latter two matches.
Nadal has been in blistering form this year and carried that on in the third round with an astonishing straight sets win over Nikoloz Basilashvili. He crushed the Georgian from start to finish, dropping just a solitary game in the second set – making it the third time he has won two 6-0 sets in a match against an opponent in Paris. No one expected to do much in the way of damage to Nadal but the way he was completely outplayed sends a message to the rest of the tour. “Today was one of the best matches I have ever played, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “I am really happy because I have a really good feeling. Every day my training is going very well, my practice. When I have a match, I play very well.”
Another Spaniard could be up next for Nadal if he wins this although it has to be said the chances of Pablo Carreno Busta defeating Milos Raonic in their fourth round tie are slightly lower.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in straight sets