Deja vu as Nadal crushes his friend Gasquet in Paris

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his third round match against France’s Richard Gasquet.

PARIS, June 2: When claycourt machine Rafa Nadal faces his old friend Richard Gasquet the 10-time Roland Garros champion gets a free ride and that was again the case as he bulldozed past the local favourite 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the French Open last 16 on Saturday.
Top seed Nadal won the first 12 points of the match and opened up a 5-0 led before Gasquet finally got into the contest, but it was once more too little, too late for a player who had been labelled the ‘Mozart of tennis’ in his teenage years.
Gasquet actually won their last encounter – but it was at the Kooyong Classic exhibition event this year.
When it matters Nadal must know he won’t get into trouble, having not dropped a set against a player who was his rival in the juniors since 2008.
There was a sense of inevitability about the outcome when both players made their appearance on Court Philippe Chatrier, where Nadal is the huge favourite to lift the Musketeers Cup for a record-extending 11th time.
“I played very well, I’m sorry for Richard, he is a good friend and a good person,” said Nadal, who played a few rallies with a ball boy after his match. (Agencies)