Deja vu as Nadal crushes his friend Gasquet in Paris

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action. Reuters

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action. Reuters

RIGHT from the get-go in Court Philippe Chatrier, things were not looking good for Rafael Nadal's latest French Open foil: The 10-time champion at Roland Garros won the first 12 points against Richard Gasquet. "It has been three hard matches for me, but I played well and I know I could play even better in my next round", del Potro said.

"It will be a good match against a good friend in the most important place in my career, and for him a very special place, too". "Once he's ahead, it becomes impossible".

Diego Schwartzman joined countryman del Potro in the fourth round with an impressive 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Borna Coric.

Rafael Nadal has been full of focus at Roland Garros.

Gasquet's coach Fabrice Santoro has urged his understudy to mix his tactics up and try a different approach, and that is surely the only way he is going to trouble an opponent who has always had his number.

Should he and Fognini, who is also through to the round of 16 this year, both reach the quarterfinals, it will be the 2nd time in the Open Era that Italy has had multiple representatives in the quarterfinals of the men's singles at a Grand Slam. The Frenchman had to wait until the fourth game to win his first point, much to the delight of the crowd on Chatrier.

In classic Nadal fashion, he spoke glowingly of his next opponent.

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"He's a player that has a good potential". I think Stosur has the pop on serve to cause Muguruza problems and her forehand can be devastating on clay, but I think the backhand is a weakness that often gets exposed when she faces a step up in class. "He has power, so he's a risky opponent".

Gasquet has struggled against the very top players throughout his career and his record against Nadal is testament to that.

Juan Martín del Potro eased into the fourth round by beating No. 31 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.

Isner is the last US man left in the field after eliminating the last man from France, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 7-6 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (4). Mike Tyson watched also today's matches that promoted Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys to the last 8 for the first time at Roland Garros. Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov will battle for a first Grand Slam quarterfinal and Goffin returns to face the surprise Marco Cecchinato. He has yet to drop a set at this year's tournament. Zverev already has played a pair of five-setters.

On tap Sunday, the fourth round begins with Novak Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco colliding for a 15th time.

The only man to beat Nadal on clay this season, Thiem, couldn't take him on again until the final. "I don't know what the others think".

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