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Rafael Nadal makes it 18 straight against Gasquet to reach US Open fourth round

Rafael Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet for the 18th consecutive time to move through to the fourth round in New York.

The former junior rivals first played at tour level back in 2004 and Nadal has won every encounter across 18 years.

The second seed won the first nine games before Gasquet finally got on the board. The Frenchman made a fight of it in the third set but fell to a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 defeat.

After being dealt a blow on the nose with his own racket in his second-round victory over Fabio Fognini, Nadal avoided any such mishaps this time.

“It’s a little bit bigger than usual but it’s OK, the nose is still there,” he said with a smile.

“Three matches already, I increased a little bit the level today so that’s important for me I think. I’m happy for that against a very good friend like Richard. I need to keep playing better and better to have chances to go through.”

Nadal has won four of his 22 grand slam titles at the US Open, most recently in 2019, the last time he entered the hard-court tournament. Nadal, who won his 30th night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, said his nose felt fine during the match.

Nadal has won 34 straight sets against Gasquet and needed just over two hours to move into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. He’ll play American player Frances Tiafoe on Monday. Tiafoe became the first American man since Mardy Fish in 2010-12 to get to the US Open’s fourth round in three consecutive years.

Nadal has a 2-0 career mark against Tiafoe.

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