Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal

Spain’s Rafael Nadal entered the last 16 with a straight-sets win against local favourite Richard Gasquet.

The world No 1 cruised to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory as he seemingly marches towards his next French Open title.

However, on his way to the trophy, he will face an unknown opponent in the form of Maximilian Marterer in the next round.

Nadal
Maximilian Marterer

The 22-year-old German and the Spanish World number 1 have never faced off professionally. However, Marterer has been established as a giant killer, by knocking out highly-rated Denis Shapovalov. Nadal knows that he will have to dig deep when they meet on Monday.

“I saw him play. I saw him play the other day against Shapovalov. And I saw him play a little bit against Zverev in Munich a couple of weeks ago,” Nadal said.

“Yeah, he’s a player that has a good potential. 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, no?

“Being in that round, winning good matches. He’s of course playing well.

“I, of course, 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.”

Brisbane Open
Rafael Nadal

Marterer has revealed that he was Nadal’s sparring partner at Roland Garros back in their junior days.

But Nadal said, “No, I don’t remember him from then. But what I know is he’s a player who is playing well, and as I said, when he played Zverev in the first round in Munich, he lost it, but he was very good.

“The other day here against Shapovalov, he was playing at a very high level. It’s always difficult to play Shapovalov. So he’s a difficult opponent.

“But obviously this is a round where it’s getting very difficult. Whatever the round, it’s going to be difficult. I’m happy with the victory of today. I believe I played well. “Tomorrow I’ll practice, and then the day after I’ll think about what can happen.

“But while things are on the right track, well, all the better. I’ll try to continue winning.”

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