Nadal happy with form

Rafael Nadal was in ominously good form as he made it only nine games dropped in two matches with a 6-2 6-2 6-0 victory over Denis Istomin in the third round of the French Open today.

Rafael Nadal was in ominously good form as he made it only nine games dropped in two matches with a 6-2 6-2 6-0 victory over Denis Istomin in the third round of the French Open today.

The defending champion, who is going for a record seventh title at Roland Garros, was very happy with his display but is looking to improve his serve for his next match against Argentinian qualifier Eduardo Schwank, who put out 32nd seed Florian Mayer today.

Nadal said: "I feel good. I think I played a really solid match. The first set I think was a good level. The second one was good at the end, but in the middle of the set I had some problems with my serve, two break points in two games in a row.

"And the third set was great. I'm very happy about the way that I played the third. I can improve things. The serve is the first one. I think I improved the level of my serve during the match, but I started the match serving bad."

Nadal spoke after his first-round win against Simone Bolelli about his positive attitude this year in comparison to 12 months ago, when he frequently cut something of a tortured figure despite going on to win the title.

The second seed is always keen to get back home to Majorca as often as possible, but he revealed his state of mind is partly to do with being less homesick.

He said: "This year I'm having fun, a lot of fun. I'm happy. I'm not suffering from the fact that I'm far from home. Whereas last year I was suffering from this.

"It was too much travelling for me. Even though last year I was quite successful. I had this mental fear last year. But things change."

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga found conditions at Roland Garros much more to his liking today as he defeated Cedrik Marcel-Stebe 6-2 4-6 6-2 6-1.

Stebe had just levelled the match at one set all when rain forced an early end to play last night, but Tsonga had things pretty much all his own way today.

The fifth seed said: "Yesterday the conditions were not the ones I like very much. When the weather is heavy, I find it difficult to play. I can't volley well. I can't play winning points from the baseline, and then you start playing cat and mouse.

"I had difficulties focusing. It was children's day yesterday. There was a lot of noise, and I was getting a bit crazy. So I think it was a good idea the match was stopped yesterday and I could start again in far better conditions for me."

Sixth seed David Ferrer racked up another straight-sets win, 6-3 6-3 6-2 over Benoit Paire of France, while dark horse Milos Raonic also impressed.

The Canadian has already beaten Andy Murray on clay this season and is likely to get a shot at Nadal if he beats 13th seed Juan Monaco in the third round.

Raonic, 21, is certainly not short on confidence, and he said: "I feel like I'm quite capable of playing on clay right now. I feel like I'm doing a lot of good things. I feel like I'm getting better all the time."

Monaco saw off Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7/4) 6-0 7-6 (7/5) but 25th seed Bernard Tomic, the only teenager in the draw, succumbed to the extra clay-court experience of Colombia's Santiago Giraldo, going down 6-4 6-1 6-3.

Nicolas Almagro, seeded 12, overcame Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-3 7-5, while seeds Julien Benneteau and Mikhail Youzhny also advanced but Viktor Troicki crashed out in five sets to Fabio Fognini, the Italian edging the decider 8-6.

Meanwhile, Roland Garros bade farewell to a favourite son as 34-year-old Arnaud Clement, who is set to retire at the end of the season, lost 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 0-6 6-2 6-1 to Belgian qualifier David Goffin in his 15th appearance at the French Open.

Clement said: "I was so lucky to do all of this, so lucky to be French. I'm a tennis player and I've played 15 Roland Garros."

Goffin, 21, has now come through two five-set matches in the opening two rounds having never played one before in his career or made it to the main draw of a grand slam.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox