Rafael Nadal snuffed out the threat of Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci on Monday, winning 6-2 7-5 6-4 to safely avoid any repeat of last year’s shock fourth-round exit at the French Open.
Nadal, whose four-year domination at Roland Garros was ended exactly a year ago by Sweden’s Robin Soderling, was pushed hard by the 22-year-old after dominating the first set but the outcome was never seriously in doubt.
The Spanish world number two had his serve broken four times during the two hour 33 minute contest on a packed Court Philippe Chatrier but always found a stinging response to deflate the 24th seed. Nadal, bidding for a fifth title, will face Spanish opposition in the quarter-final, either in the shape of seventh seed Fernando Verdasco or 19th seed Nicolas Almagro.
Djokovic romps past journeyman Ginepri
Serbian Novak Djokovic continued his serene progress through the men’s draw with an ultimately comfortable 6-4 2-6 6-1 6-2 victory over American Robby Ginepri to book his place in the quarter-finals.
Ginepri went toe-to-toe with the third seed and won his first set in five meetings against the Serbian with some sweet baseline strokes in the second set.
The American 27-year-old was unlucky to lose the opener having enjoyed the more confident service games and failing to convert three break points on the Djokovic serve -- two of which arrived at 4-4.
But the Serb broke to take it in game 10, before his game fell off as Ginepri, his white baseball cap facing backwards, powered to the second with two breaks in a 33-minue set.
Ginepri cheered the crowd with an impromptu series of push-ups after slipping to retrieve a Djokovic passing shot but he was broken in the same game as the Serb went on to wrap up the last two sets with some crisp hitting.