May 26, 2016
Rafael Nadal reached an incredible 200 wins in Grand Slams with his impressive victory over Facundo Bagnis by 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 at Roland Garros.
The superb Spaniard became only the eighth player in history to reach that special landmark.
Now he needs just four more wins to arrive at another milestone – 800 career victories.
Nadal got off to a slow start against Bagnis, losing the first three points and labouring for the first couple of games.
But once he found a familiar, punchy rhythm, Nadal was virtually unstoppable as he powered his way to victory in just one hour and 46 minutes.
He is playing well enough to represent a serious threat to tournament favourite Novak Djokovic, whom he is due to meet in the semi-finals, should both men continue to progress.
While Andy Murray has struggled to find his best tennis so far at Roland Garros, Nadal and Djokovic are finding a way to get the job done in relatively quick time during the early rounds, without peaking too soon.
Djokovic beat Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 after an indifferent start. Like Nadal, he was into a more self-assured rhythm soon enough to avoid any Murray-style five-set dramas.
Intriguingly Novak will play the adopted Brit, Aljaz Bedene in the third round – and that will test the quality of the improving underdog.
The way Roland Garros has gone so far, it is hard to escape the feeling that Nadal v Djokovic will be the true final, even though the big showdown looks destined to come a match early.
However, as we know from past experience, Slams can turn in the blink of an eye, players can raise their level or suddenly crash. That’s why we love tennis, right? But no one can take Nadal’s terrific 200 victories in Slams away from him. And we can expect many more.
Remember, the fun has only just begun this European summer! For many people, this is only the appetiser for the greatest Slam of them all – Wimbledon.