World number one Rafael Nadal got himself an early 32nd birthday present by beating his friend Richard Gasquet to book a last 16 spot at the ongoing French Open tournament.
The Spanish tennis star is 32 today and he celebrated it with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over his French opponent in one hour, 58 minutes on Philippe-Chatrier court as he continues his bid to win an impressive 11th title at Roland Garros.
He will now play unseeded German Maximilian Marterer, who saw off Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp 6-2 6-1 6-4, in the quest for a quarterfinal place.
Speaking after his victory, Nadal sympathised with his friend Gasquet as he said: “I played very well, I’m sorry for Richard, he is a good friend and a good person.”
Third seed Marin Cilic is also through to the fourth round following his 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over American Steve Johnson in one hour, 34 minutes as he sealed a Grand Slam round of 16 spot for a 20th time.
He will now face Fabio Fognini of Italy who defeated British number one Kyle Edmund 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4.