Rafael Nadal set another milestone at the French Open on Thursday, posting the 200th Grand Slam match win of his career.
Nadal got off a sluggish start but once he got into his swing, he was in control. The record nine-time champion at Roland Garros ended up beating Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 to become the eighth man in history to win 200 matches at major tournaments.
Novak Djokovic, who ended Nadal’s 39-match winning streak at Roland Garros last year in the quarterfinals, joined the Spaniard in the third round. The top-ranked Serb was far from his best, hitting 42 unforced errors against Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis, but his mistakes did not prevent him from advancing 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
The man with the most wins at majors is Roger Federer, who has 302 over his career but is missing from this year’s French Open because of injury.
“I think this year I played better than last year,” said Nadal, who has been in fine form in the buildup to the French Open, winning titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
“I’ve been able to play some really good matches against the best players in the world,” Nadal said. “I’m very happy to be competitive again.”
Chasing the only Grand Slam tournament missing from his trophy collection, Djokovic won his 50th match at Roland Garros by defeating Darcis. Djokovic said he struggled to cope with his opponent’s speed from the baseline.
“It was difficult for me tactically to dictate points because he’s very talented,” Djokovic said. “It was difficult but I’m happy I was able to finish in three sets.”
The other men with 50 victories at the French Open — Nadal, Federer, Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Nicola Pietrangeli –all won at least one title at the clay-court tournament.
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