Tennis

No stopping Spanish stars

Nadal and Muguruza show title credentials by sweeping into fourth round of French Open

Rafael Nadal took another step closer to a 10th French Open with a ruthless 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in the third round yesterday.

Fourth seed Nadal coasted to the most one-sided win of his Roland Garros career as his 63rd-ranked opponent, playing his first match on Philippe Chatrier Court, was struck down by stagefright.

It was the 100th best-of-five set match on clay that the Spaniard Nadal had played in his career.

His record now stands at 98-2, with his only two losses coming at Roland Garros.

"Perfection? I don't know about that," said Nadal.

Basilashvili, 25, hit just five winners and committed 34 unforced errors in his 90-minute horror show.

Nadal, who turns 31 today, will meet fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarter-finals.

In the women's draw, Garbine Muguruza's 7-5, 6-2 win over Kazakh Yulia Putintseva was greeted warmly by fans on the Philippe Chatrier court.

With pregnant Serena Williams absent, Maria Sharapova denied an invitation and top seed Angelique Kerber a first-round casualty, familiar faces are relatively thin on the ground in Paris.

Putintseva, a pocket rocket early in the first set, fizzled out as the contest wore on and fourth seed Muguruza turned up the power.

The Venezuelan-born Spaniard raised the decibel level as she nosed in front, teaming each pummelled groundstroke with a loud cry, signalling her determination.

Muguruza said that she turns to baking in her spare time to help cope with the pressure of playing at Grand Slam tournaments.

She revealed she made desserts to relax during her run to the 2015 Wimbledon final and admitted that it remains a favourite hobby after reaching the fourth round yesterday.

"I still do it. It's tricky, because I have to stay in the house and it has to have equipment," said Muguruza.

"Here I'm in a hotel, and it's just, for some tournaments, I'd rather stay in hotel and others house."

The 23-year-old admitted that she would be following her regular routine at Wimbledon, where she hopes to atone for last year's shock second-round exit.

"I know in Wimbledon I will go to the same house. I know the kitchen, and I know that the owner, the woman loves to bake, so I have everything I need for muffin, cakes, and stuff," she said.

"It's just how we spend, basically, our time."

Muguruza will next play French 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic, who outlasted American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 yesterday, for a place in the last eight in Paris.- WIRE SERVICES

SELECTED RESULTS

Men's singles third round

  • Rafael Nadal (x4) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0
  • Milos Raonic (x5) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 1-0 
(Garcia-Lopez retired)
  • Horacio Zeballos bt David Goffin (x10) 4-5 (Goffin retired)
  • Pablo Carreno (x20) bt Grigor Dimitrov (x11) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
  • Dominic Thiem (x6) bt Steve Johnson (x25) 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

Women's singles third round

  • Garbine Muguruza Blanco (x4) 
bt Yulia Putintseva (x27) 7-5, 6-2
  • Samantha Stosur (x23) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 6-2
  • Kristina Mladenovic (x13) bt Shelby Rogers 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 .