Rafael Nadal continues his hunt for French Open No.12 on Friday, taking on his first seeded opponent of the tournament. He will play 27th seed David Goffin, whom he is 3-1 against. All three were on clay, with each of them convincing victories in straight sets. It could be a huge opportunity for home player Corentin Moutet in round four, with the Frenchman a possible opponent for the winner of this clash.
Nadal made it this far after a comfortable victory against another qualifier in Yannick Maden. The German rarely threaten him in the 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory, with Nadal hitting 43 winners in the process. He may be slightly disappointed with getting broken twice in the third set but it was pretty much meaningless in the grand scheme of things, only making the scoreline a little less harsh on Maden. “I think it was a good match for the first two sets” he said. “Then in the third I think I lost a little bit concentration and intensity. And then all the match became difficult.”
Goffin has been dominant through his first two matches, beating Ricardas Berankis and Miomir Kecmanovic with little fuss. The Belgian has fallen from the lofty heights of the top 10 to just inside the top 30 in the past year but should guarantee his seeding spot for another slam with his two wins here. He dropped just 13 games across them, meaning fitness should surely not be an issue.
“It is probably the ultimate challenge, I need to use angles. I need to play early. If he plays short shots, I will have to do it. But if I have to run a lot, it will be to his favour. And when he starts dictating the match, it becomes very difficult.” Goffin said on the matchup. Unfortunately for him, it is likely to only be a matter of how long he lasts than whether he has much of a chance. The Spaniard is now fit and fighting, peaking at the right time to strike for another title.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets