French Open 2018: Defending champion Rafael Nadal eases into last 16

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has not dropped a set to Richard Gasquet since 2008
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Defending champion and world number one Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 of the French Open with a straight-set win over home hopeful Richard Gasquet.

The Spaniard, chasing an 11th title at Roland Garros, won 6-3 6-2 6-2 in one hour, 58 minutes on Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal, who turns 32 on Sunday, has now defeated the 31-year-old Frenchman in each of their 16 meetings.

Next up for Nadal is unseeded German Maximilian Marterer, who beat Estonia's Jurgen Zopp 6-2 6-1 6-4.

"I played very well, I'm sorry for Richard, he is a good friend and a good person," Nadal said.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion still had the energy after his match to play few rallies with a ball boy called Leo, who was introduced by former French Open champion Marion Bartoli at the end of Nadal's on-court interview.

"You have a lot of fans around the world but this ball kid is your biggest fan and it is his dream to play just one ball against you at Roland Garros," she told the top seed.

Nadal obliged in front of a Chatrier crowd who cheered every ball before the player stepped over the net and hugged the youngster.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal stuck around to have a knock with Leo, a Roland Garros ball boy, after his win over Gasquet

Third seed Marin Cilic reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the 20th time when he beat American Steve Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 34 minutes.

The Croat will face Italy's Fabio Fognini, who knocked out British number one Kyle Edmund as he took a thrilling five-setter 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro booked his place in the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in six years, with a straightforward 7-5 6-4 6-1 victory over Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The 2009 US Open champion will take on ninth seed John Isner for a place in the quarter-finals after the American beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

David Goffin saved four match points to close out his third-round tussle with Gael Monfils in just short of four hours after it was carried over from Friday.

The Belgian eighth seed defeated the Frenchman 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Meanwhile, South African sixth seed Kevin Anderson saw off Germany's Mischa Zverev 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to set up a last-16 meeting with Diego Schwartzman.

The Argentine 11th seed won 7-5 6-3 6-3 against Croatia's Borna Coric.

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