French Open 2014: Gael Monfils joins Rafael Nadal in fourth round
French Open 2014: Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils reach the fourth round of Roland Garros on Saturday
Rafael Nadal swept past Leonardo Mayer to maintain his record of reaching the fourth round in all of his French Open appearances.
The world number one beat his Argentinian opponent 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes on the Philippe Chatrier court on Saturday.
But eight-time French Open champion Nadal did admit that he had suffered with a slight back issue during the third-round encounter.
“I felt a little bit my back so that’s why I slowed down my service a little bit,” said Nadal. “I had the problem in Australia. It’s real but during my career I have had a few problems.”
He will now face world number 83 Dusan Lajovic and the Serb could not hide is excitement at facing the eight-time champion in his first main draw appearance at the tournament.
“I can’t be more happy than this,” the 23-year old said. “Maybe to play Rafa on Chatrier is one of the biggest dreams and biggest challenges, so for sure it’s not going to be easy. ”
“You need to have a lot of tips and confidence to beat [Nadal], but I hope to enjoy the match if he wins and to give my best.”
Meanwhile, home favourite Gaels Monfils was thrilled to beat Italian 14th seed Fabio Fognini 5-7 6-2 6-4 0-6 6-2.
“For me it’s always a pleasure, new experience,” said Monfils. “The crowd is always different. Today was again amazing.”