Spain's Rafael Nadal made easy work of his French Open match against Richard Gaquet: Photo: Michel Euler/AP Photo

PARIS Defending champion Rafael Nadal has advanced to the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win against Richard Gasquet, improving to 16-0 against the Frenchman.

The 27th-seeded Gasquet trailed 5-0 in the first set before winning the next three games and moving 30-0 ahead on Nadal's serve.

It was only a brief rally, as Nadal responded in his usual clinical way.

He streaked ahead 4-0 in the second set and did the same in the third before Gasquet finally held serve after a long fifth game. After earning applause from Nadal following a superb cushioned drop shot at the net, he ended that game with an ace.

Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Gasquet chopped a backhand long. He has now failed to even take a set off Nadal in 11 straight matches.

The top-ranked Spaniard is chasing a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros. He next faces unseeded German Maximilian Marterer in their first career meeting.

AP

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