Rafael Nadal still looks the man to beat at Roland Garros, with two wins already in the book for the 9 time champion. He hasn’t had much of a challenge in his first two matches but it seems that is unlikely to change in round three with Nikoloz Basilashvili next to face the unenvious task off taking on the Spaniard.
The Georgian has jumped from outside the top 100 to a likely spot inside the top 60 since October but has never really managed to make a name for himself on the main tour yet despite two top 10 wins (Berdych – Vienna, Thiem – Sofia) in that time. However, he has yet to progress past round one at a Masters tournament and this third round will be only his second at a slam and first in Paris. He didn’t make it there though on the back of a comfortable draw but instead defeated two handy veterans in Gilles Simon and Viktor Troicki, the latter impressively in straight sets.
Nadal had a tendency for long drawn out matches at slams, even when they were extremely comfortable wins against lesser opponents but he needed just 109 minutes to send Robin Haase out of the tournament after a 6-1 6-4 6-3 win, looking dominant on serve and hitting a boatload of winners in the process. Often now, the concern with the top stars – especially Nadal – is that their body holds out for the entire tournament. Thankfully for Nadal his often troublesome wrist has been anything but for him this year. “I don’t feel anything on the wrist since long time ago. Treatment went well so I’ve had no wrong feeling since the beginning of the season with the wrist. That’s good news.” he said.
Basilashvili’s nice run will end here but he is one to look out for in the future once more as someone capable of a run from outside the seeded spots. With a favourable draw, he could match or perhaps better his 2015 third round run at Wimbledon too.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets