Rafael Nadal wins 200th Grand Slam match at French Open
PARIS — Every time Rafael Nadal steps on a clay tennis court, he seems to make history. Thursday was no different at the French Open.
Nadal, a nine-time winner at Roland Garros, won his 200th Grand Slam match with a decisive 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 effort over Facundo Bagnis. That moves him into eight on the all-time list at Slams in men’s tennis.
“I didn’t know that,” Nadal said when a reporter told him of the feat. “For me the most important thing today was the victory. It is another number… that’s it. I’m happy right now. It’s a good start to the tournament.”
Nadal meets Spanish countryman Marcel Granollers, the world No. 56, in the third round on Saturday. Nadal has won all four of their meetings in straight sets, including earlier this spring in Barcelona.
Roger Federer, who is missing his first Grand Slam in 16 years with a back injury, tops the majors match-wins list with 302. Novak Djokovic, the top seed here, won No. 216 Thursday.
Nadal can move past Pete Sampras to No. 7 on the list with four more victories — which would put him into the final. The American had 203 total wins at majors in his career.
Nadal started slowly against Bagnis, a 26-year-old ranked No. 99, losing his opening service game and falling behind 2-0. Nadal, however, would turn the tide quickly, winning 12 of 13 games to take a commanding two-sets-to-love lead.
Nadal and Djokovic are slated to meet in the semifinals here a year after Djokovic beat his Spanish rival for the first time at Roland Garros in the quarterfinals. The Serb, however, is still in search of his first French Open title, and with it, the completion of the career Grand Slam.
Nadal has the best career match record on clay in the Open Era with a 365-34 mark. He moves to 200-30 at the majors and looks to capture a 10th French Open this fortnight, which would be a major record – man or woman.