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Deja vu as Nadal crushes his friend Gasquet in Paris

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Russia's Maria Sharapova in action. Reuters

He has won 12 consecutive matches at Roland Garros; the last loss was against Novak Djokovic in the 2015 quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal had an easy outing on Court Philippe Chatrier in dispatching Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to further solidify his impressive record against a former junior competitior.

When claycourt machine Rafa Nadal faces his old friend Richard Gasquet the 10-time Roland Garros champion gets a free ride and that was again the case as he bulldozed past the local favourite 6-3 6-2 6-2 to reach the French Open last 16 on Saturday.

The crowd performs a wave as Spain's Rafael Nadal plays France's Richard Gasquet during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Saturday, June 2, 2018 in Paris.

"I, of course, need to take care about what's going on".

With about a week to go, Nadal is looking more and more like the absolute favorite.

But Nadal said, "No, I don't remember him from then. But what I know is he's a player who is playing well, and as I said, when he played Zverev in the first round in Munich, he lost it, but he was very good. It has been three hard matches for me, but I played well and I know I could play even better in my next round", del Potro said.

"He hits the ball with big topspin", Nadal said. "Also we are good outside the court, with his parents, they know me also and I know them well". Novak Djokovic has been shaky at times, too. Nadal won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Gasquet actually won their last encounter - but it was at the Kooyong Classic exhibition event this year.

Top-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the third time by beating Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-1.

He will next face 11th seed Diego Schwartzman after the diminutive Argentine underlined his clay court capability with a 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory against the unseeded Borna Coric.

Later, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will face five-time major victor Maria Sharapova on the same court.

Marin Cilic has moved into the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the 20th time, eliminating Steve Johnson of the US 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

No surprise, Fabio Fognini went five sets with Kyle Edmund 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Karen Khachanov inflicted more French woe by completing a rain-interrupted win over Lucas Pouille on Philippe Chatrier. Gasquet was seeded 27th in Paris but has been ranked as high as No. 7 and made it to three Grand Slam semi-finals.

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