Rafael Nadal clinched a hugely impressive straight-sets win over rising Italian star Jannik Sinner in their French Open fourth-round clash in Paris.
The 19-year-old Sinner threw everything at the Spaniard in the opening set and even broke his serve on two occasions, but ultimately could not sustain that level.
Nadal always had too much for his opponent when it really mattered and he recovered to edge a topsy-turvy first set with a crucial third break of serve from 5-5 and he kicked on from there.
The 13-time champion at Roland Garros continued to accelerate through the match as he dropped just three games in the second and stepped it up further to end the match in style with a bagel.
It was a chastening result for Sinner given all the excitement at the prospect of the match given the 18th seed’s fine progress in his young career with Nadal’s level simply too high.
The third seed will next take on Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the quarter-finals with a huge contest with world number one Novak Djokovic potentially on the cards for the semi-finals.
A Nadal v Djokovic clash in the last four would be an encounter fans would love and it would be a repeat from last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.
In the quarter-finals, Djokovic will next take on another Italian, ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, after he was handed a walkover due to Roger Federer withdrawing from the tournament.
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.