French Open: Rafa Nadal breezes into third round
Rafa Nadal continued his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title with a 6-1 6-0 6-3 crushing of American Mackenzie McDonald to advance into the third round on Wednesday.
The Spanish second seed, also looking to equal Roger Federer's men's record of 20 singles Grand Slam titles, was never bothered on court Philippe Chatrier.
The claycourt master played deep, using his forehand to devastating effect to set up a meeting with Japanese Kei Nishikori or Italian Stefano Travaglia.
After world number 236 McDonald won the second game, Nadal bagged 11 games in a row to move two sets up and despite some resistance from his opponent early in the third set, he had no trouble improving his win-loss record at Roland Garros to 95-2.
"My objective is to play as well as I can. It was a good match for me today. I'm very happy," said Nadal.
"Then it's another difficult match. We'll see, I hope I'll be at a good level. It's always special for me to play here in Paris, on court Philippe Chatrier."
Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka's unhappy French Open campaign ended on Wednesday as the former world number one was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the second round.
The Belarussian 10th seed, who was criticised for moaning about the cold and damp conditions in her opening round win, capitulated in feeble fashion against her 161st-ranked opponent.
Her defeat continued an exodus of leading seeds with Johanna Konta (9), Madison Keys (12),last year's runner-up Marketa Vondrousova (15) and another former world number one Angelique Kerber (18) having already been beaten while sixth seed Serena Williams withdrew on Wednesday with an Achilles injury.
Azarenka's defeat means that none of the women's semifinalists at this month's US Open are left in the draw here, although winner Naomi Osaka did not travel to France.
"I felt like nothing really was working, but I still had to find a way to win, and I didn't," Azarenka, runner-up to Osaka at Flushing Meadows, told reporters.
Former top-30 player Schmiedlova, who is playing with a protected ranking of 93 after knee surgery sidelined her in 2019, has enjoyed a stunning return to form in Paris, having beaten another former number one, Venus Williams, in round one to end a run of 12 consecutive first-round losses in Slams.
She backed up that win over Williams with an intelligent display against an error-prone Azarenka.
"I always thought that one year it has to come," said Scmiedlova, who now has Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska standing between her and the last-16 of a Grand Slam for the first time.
"I think I did everything I could to be back here. I'm very happy that it came, especially this year."
Azarenka, again playing in black leggings, double-faulted to drop serve in the opening game when play finally started on Court Simonne-Mathieu after yet another rain delay.
It did not get much better for the 31-year-old.
Scmiedlova's one real moment of alarm came at 1-1 in the second set when she slipped and landed heavily on her left knee and required treatment.
But she showed no ill-effects as she moved into a 5-2 lead with a couple of breaks of serve. Schmiedlova brought up match point with a forehand winner and sealed victory as Azarenka fired a 37th unforced error.
Wednesday (x denotes seeded player):
Taylor Fritz (USA x27) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Norbert Gombos (SVK) bt Jurij Rodionov (AUT) 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x12) bt Lorenzo Giustino (ITA) 6-1, 7-5, 6-0
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x16) bt Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Hugo Gaston (FRA) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-2
Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Jack Sock (USA) 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Pedro Martinez (ESP) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-3, 6-1, 6-0
Sebastian Korda (USA) bt John Isner (USA x21) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-1, 6-0, 6-3
Amanda Anisimova (USA x25) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-2, 6-0
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Iga Swiatek (POL) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-1, 6-4
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
Kiki Bertens (NED x5) bt Sara Errani (ITA) 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 9-7
Elina Svitolina (UKR x3) bt Renata Zarazua (MEX) 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS x27) bt Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-3, 6-3
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR x10) 6-2, 6-2
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ x23) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE x32) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) bt Serena Williams (USA x6) walkover