Birthday boy Rafael Nadal marked his special day with a comfortable straight sets victory over Richard Gasquet at the French Open.
The 13-time champion at Roland Garros blew the Frenchman away with a quite breathtaking opening set bagel and he was in total control after taking the second 7-5.
Gasquet did respond well to the bagel with that second set but he was not able to keep up the resistance in the third as Nadal closed out the win in comfortable fashion.
“I played an incredible first set,” Nadal said in his post-match on-court interview.
“Richard did not play at all badly in the first set but I did not miss.
“I was happy to win the second set 7-5 and then after that I was a bit more comfortable I think.”
The third seed will now await the challenge of Britain’s Cam Norrie, who earlier in the day beat Lloyd Harris of South Africa in their second-round match.
Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have all found themselves in the same part of the men’s draw in what is an intriguing prospect.
The draw looks particularly exciting for Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev with the trio not having to face any of the ‘Big Three’ until the final at least.
Djokovic could take on Nadal in the semi-finals in Paris in what would be a repeat from last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.
The three most successful players in the history of the men’s game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.