Rafael Nadal secured his 200th Grand Slam win to safely secure passage through to the third round of the French Open thanks to a straight sets win over Argentine Facundo Bagnis. The fourth seed in Paris made a shaky start in the second match of the day on Philippe-Chatrier Court, but his victory was never in doubt and was secured in an hour and 46 minutes, 6-3 6-0 6-3.
Nadal will now play either fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers or Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in round three. And he also becomes just the eighth man to get to 200 wins in tennis’ big four events, accomplishing the feat in 230 matches. He still has some way to go, though, to match the record, held by Roger Federer on 302.
More important to Nadal right now, will be the continued smoothness of his progress in Paris. The nine-time champion suffered just his second ever defeat at Roland Garros last year when going down limply in the quarterfinals to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. But he has returned to form this clay-court season, claiming titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month.
He was barely exerted in losing just three games to world No. 100 Sam Groth in the opening round at the French Open, and it always appeared unlikely that the challenge would prove too much tougher against Bagnis, ranked just one place higher at 99.
There was an early hiccup, however, with Nadal dropping his serve in the very first game against the fellow left-hander. Yet after falling into a 2-0 deficit, Nadal won 17 of the next 19 games to move to within a game of victory. It was some surprise then, when Bagnis delayed Nadal’s victory by saving a match point and then taking his fourth break point of the game. But it was only the most temporary of revivals, with Nadal breaking in the very next game to wrap up the win.
With his former nemesis Fabio Fognini knocked out of his potential path by a first round exit, Nadal will be a strong favorite whomever he takes on in the third round. He has won all eight sets he has played against Granollers, including a comfortable victory last month in Barcelona. While Nadal has shared his two matches with Mahut, the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s defeat came nine years ago on the grass of Queen’s Club, London.