Rafael Nadal rolled into his 40th career Grand Slam fourth round pounding home favorite Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. The Frenchman had to wait until the fourth game to win his first point, much to the delight of the crowd on Chatrier.
Nadal has won 12 straight matches and 35 consecutive sets at the French Open. And he’s now won all 16 meetings with Richard Gasquet.
“It was an emotional thing for me to play with him here in this court,” Nadal said. “I don’t know what the others think. All I know is about me. What I know is I go to the court, and I know that I could very well lose. I can win, I can lose. I don’t come here saying, You can’t win against me.
“Of course I have won a lot and it can influence my opponents. But that’s their thing. It’s their problem. I can’t answer about that. Richard is someone I really appreciate. I’m just sorry that he had to play me again here. But that’s the sport.”
Nadal will next meet the 22-year-old lefty from Germany Maximilian Marterer who ended the run of lucky loser Jurgen Zopp.
“He’s a player that has a good potential,” Nadal said of the German. “He’s a player that has a good serve, good forehand. He hits the ball with big topspin. He has power, so he’s a dangerous opponent. He’s playing well. He won very easy today. Being in that round, winning good matches. He’s of course playing well.
“I need to take care about what’s going on. I hope to be ready to play a good match. I think I’m improving, too, every day, playing better and better. And that’s my goal and my way. I have another opportunity to practice tomorrow, to keep finding the right feelings, and then try to play the best match possible on Monday.”
The other favorites also won in the men’s draw on Saturday. Marin Cilic breezed past Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Juan Martin del Potro was a winner over former quarterfinalist ALbert Ramos Vinolas 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.
“I think I’m strong enough to keep doing well. It has been three difficult matches for me, but I played well and I know I could play even better in my next round,” del Potro said. “All the guys who are still alive in this tournament have big chance to go far, so now the tournament becomes more interesting to watch and to play.”
Diego Schwartzman joined countryman del Potro in the fourth round with an impressive 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Borna Coric. John Isner kept American hopes alive and ended those for France in the men’s draw, beating Pierre Hugues Herbert in three sets.
No surprise, Fabio Fognini went five sets with Kyle Edmund 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. And US Open finalist Kevin Anderson won in four over Mischa Zverev.
In the completion of two matches from Friday, Karen Khachanov finished off Lucas Pouille and David Goffin saved four match points to put an end to Gael Monfils in a fun five setter 6-7(8), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I just had to control the point and to be aggressive,” Goffin said of the fourt set match points. “Because I knew if I gave him only one opportunity to take the point, he will take it with his forehand. So I had to be really aggressive, and that’s what I did.”
On tap Sunday, the fourth round begins with Novak Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco colliding for a 15th time. Djokovic leads 10-4.
Dominic Thiem will try to pick up his first career win over Kei Nishikori. Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov will battle for a first Grand Slam quarterfinal and Goffin returns to face the surprise Marco Cecchinato.
“We know each other pretty well from juniors,” said Khachanov. “[He] is a tough opponent, but we are in the fourth round. Only the best players are still in the tournament, so hopefully it can be a good match.”
SUNDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe-Chatrier – Play starts at 11am
Madison KEYS (USA)  vs Mihaela BUZARNESCU (ROU) 
Dominic THIEM (AUT)  vs Kei NISHIKORI (JPN) 
Anett KONTAVEIT (EST)  vs Sloane STEPHENS (USA) 
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  vs Fernando VERDASCO (ESP) 
Court Suzanne-Lenglen – play starts at 11am
Karen KHACHANOV (RUS) vs Alexander ZVEREV (GER) 
Barbora STRYCOVA (CZE)  vs Yulia PUTINTSEVA (KAZ)
David GOFFIN (BEL) vs Marco CECCHINATO (ITA)
Daria KASATKINA (RUS)  vs Caroline WOZNIACKI (DEN) 
You Might Like:
Venus Williams Sings Karaoke on 311 Cruise Ship [Video]
No Federer, No Murray Leaves Shanghai Masters Field Wide Open
Cilic, Berdych v. Gasquet Highlight Monte Carlo on Tuesday
Soderling v. Del Potro in Heavyweight Estoril Battle; Djokovic Eyes No. 28
Del Potro Dominant In Clay Opener; Tomic, Cilic, Haas On Court Friday In Munich