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Result: Rafael Nadal advances to third round of French Open

Result: Rafael Nadal advances to third round of French Open
© Reuters
Rafael Nadal has won every tour-level match he has played against the Frenchman.

Rafael Nadal celebrated his 35th birthday in style with a 17th consecutive victory over old rival Richard Gasquet to move through to the third round at the French Open.

The pair first met as juniors when they were 12 years old and Gasquet was marked out as the man who could make Philippe Chatrier his court.

He won on that occasion but, since turning professional, it has been a very different story, and Nadal's 6-0 7-5 6-2 victory took his record against Gasquet at tour level to 17-0.

It is the sixth time in the Open era that one player has remained unbeaten against another through so many matches. Novak Djokovic holds the same record against Gael Monfils while Roger Federer beat both Mikhail Youzhny and David Ferrer 17 times without reply.

It is nearly 13 years since Gasquet so much as won a set against the great Spaniard, and a whitewash looked on the cards when Nadal stormed through the first set under the lights.

To Gasquet's credit, he did not allow the match to run away with him and recovered from 5-2 down in the second set only for Nadal to take it anyway.

Rafael Nadal drives a backhand during his victory over Richard Gasquet
Rafael Nadal drives a backhand during his victory over Richard Gasquet (Michel Euler/AP)

He had the answers in the third set as well and extended his record of consecutive sets won at Roland Garros to 29 to set up a third-round clash with Britain's Cameron Norrie.

"I think I played an amazing first set, a great one," said Nadal. "I don't feel Richard was playing that bad in the first set to have that score but I didn't miss balls and I was hitting all the time the spots so I played I think with very high intensity.

"Then the second was a little bit different. I had that set point in the 5-2 game and then I didn't play a good game with my serve. And then it's normal you suffer against a great player like Richard. Happy to win that second set and then after that I was a little bit more under control."

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Roger Federer in action at the French Open on June 3, 2021
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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