French Open: Rafael Nadal coasts into third round

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal continued his steady progress at the French Open by reaching the third round with a straight-sets win over Denis Istomin.

Defending champion Nadal, a six-time winner at Roland Garros, clinched a 6-2 6-2 6-0 win over the Uzbekistan player.

The Spaniard, 25, has only lost one service game in the tournament so far.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also booked his place in the third round with a victory over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in four sets.

Istomin produced a dogged performance but Nadal, looking to win a record seventh title, was always in control, breaking twice on the way to wrapping up the first set.

Nadal, who overcame Simone Bolelli in the first round, was made to work hard to hold two of his service games in the second set, fighting off two break points.

But his relentless play on the way to moving 2-0 ahead appeared to break Istomin's resolve and Nadal made light work of completing the win.

The Spaniard will now face Argentine Eduardo Schwank for a place in the last 16.

Nadal said: "During practice and during the tournament my attitude is slightly more positive, and it's less difficult.

"Whereas last year, due to my attitude, which was less positive, it was more difficult for me.

"I have improved during the third set. This is when I had the upper hand. I played my best tennis. I made almost no mistakes."

Tsonga's match was delayed by rain on Wednesday and he also had to come through a problematic second set to win 6-2 4-6 6-2 6-1 against German Stebe.

The fifth-seeded Frenchman was level at one set all and 1-1 in the third when play resumed on Thursday but he started with a break and closed the match out in less than an hour.

Tsonga admitted he had benefited from the match being delayed on Wednesday.

He said: "(On Wednesday) 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 (Wednesday). 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 and I could start again in far better conditions for me."

Sixth seed David Ferrer produced a straight-sets win, 6-3 6-3 6-2, over Benoit Paire of France.

Home favourite Arnaud Clement, 34, who is set to retire at the end of the season, bowed out with a 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 0-6 6-2 6-1 defeat to Belgian qualifier David Goffin.