“David is a very good player. I started the match at a good level,” said Rafael Nadal. Photo: Michel Euler/AP

PARIS – Reigning champion Rafael Nadal survived a blip to continue his bid for a record-extending 12th French Open title on Friday with a four-set third-round win over David Goffin, 10 years to the day since his shock 2009 exit to Robin Soderling.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner bounced back after an excellent third set from Belgian 27th seed Goffin to win 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3, and take his incredible Roland Garros win-loss record to 89-2 – those two defeats coming against Soderling in the last-16 a decade ago and against Novak Djokovic in 2015.

Nadal maintained his record of never having lost in the first week in Paris, although he withdrew injured before the third round in 2016.

He powered 38 winners past Goffin on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a last-16 clash with either Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero or home hope Corentin Moutet.

“David is a very good player. I started the match at a good level,” said Nadal.

“After, in the third set, he played very well. I’m very happy to reach the last-16.”

Goffin looked totally outclassed in the first two sets, but claimed his first-ever set against Nadal on clay, and the first the Spaniard had dropped at Roland Garros since last year’s quarter-final win against Diego Schwartzman.

But Nadal refocused and clinched victory in the fourth set, when Goffin fired a backhand wide after a single break of serve in game four.

AFP