French Open 2020

Rafa Nadal untroubled by Travaglia as he produces 'best so far'

Rafael Nadal believes he is improving round by round at Roland Garros after making short work of his third-round French Open opponent.

French Open 2020: Nadal untroubled by Travaglia as clay king produces 'best so far'

Rafael Nadal steamed through to the French Open fourth round as he fended off Stefano Travaglia on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Italian Travaglia has a surname that translates to mean 'troubles', but Nadal was given no real cause for concern in a 6-1 6-4 6-0 victory.

Such was his control that the Spaniard won 82 per cent of points on his second serve, higher than his first-serve rate.

"I played my best match so far this year at Roland Garros. I hope I can play this way until the end," Nadal said in an on-court interview.

Rafa Nadal

These early rounds are more important than usual for Nadal, who arrived in France short of match activity after sitting out the Western and Southern Open and the US Open.

Although he returned to action at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, that was his first tournament since February, and a quarter-final exit to Diego Schwartzman was a worrying setback for the greatest clay-court player in history.

Step by step, Nadal is going through the gears in Paris, the 12-time champion inching towards the form that has brought him such rich rewards on previous visits to the French capital.

To win a 13th title at this tournament, which would move him level with Roger Federer's all-time men's record of 20 career grand slams, Nadal is likely to have to beat Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Novak Djokovic in the title match.

Travaglia had some spark to his game, and he played a number of clever shots that made the second set a contest, but few have ever had the tools to stop Nadal on this surface and the world number 74 was inevitably found wanting.

Next for Nadal is a last-16 clash with Sebastian Korda, the American son of former French Open runner-up Petr Korda.

Data slam: Volley good show from Nadal

It ended with a volley, and Nadal was often coming in close, winning 19 of 23 points where he attacked the net. He won six of seven break points and said afterwards that it was his most aggressive performance so far this fortnight. The serving is looking good, he remains a baseline master, and the fact Nadal is marauding front and back of the court augurs well for what lies ahead.

Winners/Unforced Errors

Nadal - 28/13
Travaglia - 13/24

Aces/Double Faults

Nadal - 2/0
Travaglia - 1/1

Break Points Won

Nadal - 6/7
Travaglia - 0/0