Spanish star Rafael Nadal has cruised through to the fourth round of the French Open, but not before a “concerning” security breach.

Spanish tennis phenom Rafael Nadal has cruised through to the fourth round of the French Open with a convincing straight sets victory over No. 26 seed Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

The 35-year-old claimed a 6-3 6-2 6-4 win in his third round contest at Paris’ Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a tantalising last 16 encounter with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.

But after finishing his post-match routine, Nadal was intercepted by a young child who had sprinted onto the court.

Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

The 21-time grand slam champion politely greeted the long-haired boy, whose name was also Rafael, and ruffled his hair before security intervened and, presumably, escorted the child back to his parents.

Although the moment was undeniably adorable, it did raise questions about the venue’s security.

“Yeah, I think Rafa was probably a bit surprised as it’s not what you‘re expecting,” tennis great Tim Henman told Eurosport.

“He (the security guard) is thinking, ‘Wow, I haven’t quite done my job’. But I think the kid was probably looking for a souvenir, asking for a racquet or a wristband or something.

“But it’s not necessarily what you expect to see on one of the show courts at a grand slam.”

Nadal’s record at Roland Garros has improved to 108-3 after seeing off 2021 US Open quarter-finalist Van de Zandschulp.

The world No. 5 has now reached the fourth round in 17 of his 18 visits to Roland Garros, with the exception being 2016 when he withdrew in the third round with a wrist injury.

“Today has been a very good test and very positive test, because I was able to play my best match of the tournament so far, without any doubt,” Nadal said.

Reigning French Open champion Novak Djokovic and 13-time winner Nadal are on course to meet in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros after the world No. 1 claimed a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene on Friday.

“I’m always very motivated when I get on the court, with the desire to produce my best level each time. It’s not always possible to do it, but today it was very good,” Djokovic said.

The 35-year-old is aiming to become the oldest men’s singles champion in Paris in the Open era as he chases a record-equalling 21st grand slam title.

Next up for Djokovic, who was also French Open champion in 2016, is a match-up with Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, the 15th seed.

– with AFP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.