Rafael Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet in the third round of the US Open to qualify for the pre-quarterfinal stage of the tournament. After a grueling and testing second-round match against Fabio Fognini, Nadal faced no such issue against the Frenchman and won 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
After this victory in Queens, Nadal has won all 18 fixtures against Gasquet along with winning 34 consecutive sets against the former world number seven. The Spaniard has also levelled the record for the best-undefeated tour-level head-to-head record for a man in the Open Era.
The No 2 seeded Nadal won the first nine games before Gasquet finally managed to win one after 70 minutes. The 22-time grand slam champion sealed the match as he pulled off a netted return to a fierce 97mph serve as the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd celebrated the victory with a standing ovation.
Vamos, @RafaelNadal pic.twitter.com/6XIMbmzzGV— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2022
Reacting to this victory, Rafael Nadal deemed it his best win of the tournament. He also commended Gasquet for his efforts, especially in the third set. "My best match in the tournament... Easy to say that because the other day was tough. But, yeah, important improvement. But I need to keep going. It's a good victory for me. Straight sets for the first time. Third set [was] a challenge. He increased the level," Nadal said.
Rafa further continued talking about his mindset entering the next round and said "I went through some difficult moments. That's something that is good, that I went through that and [was] safe [in those] moments with positive feelings. Happy to be in the fourth round, without a doubt."
Nadal is set to face Frances Tiafoe and has a 2-0 record against Tiafoe, but he is preparing for a difficult challenge. He said, "Second week against a great player like Frances, I need to be ready to play and to raise my level. I hope to be able to make that happen. I know it's the right moment to make an improvement if I want to keep having chances to keep going on the tournament."