NADAL JOINS 200 CLUB AT FRENCH OPEN
Four-time champion Rafael Nadal clinched his 200th claycourt win on Monday to move into the French Open quarter-finals, but only after undergoing a tough examination by Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci.
Second seed Nadal claimed a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over gutsy 24th seed Bellucci and will face either Fernando Verdasco or Nicolas Almagro for a place in the semi-finals.
Nadal is bidding to become only the second man to win five or more French Open men's titles, but he was distinctly under-cooked on Court Philippe Chatrier, dropping serve four times in a match featuring 12 service breaks.
Nadal, who turns 24 on Thursday, broke his 22-year-old opponent in the first game of the match before the Brazilian hit back to level at 2-2.
But the Spaniard took immediate revenge, claiming a double break in the fifth and seventh games on his way to pocketing the first set.
Twice in the second set, fellow left-hander Bellucci, beaten by the world number two in the first round in 2008, gallantly retrieved breaks, but remained unable to capitalise as Nadal stretched to a two-sets lead.