Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.
The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.
On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.
Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.
300 - Rafael #Nadal has won 300 Grand Slam matches becoming the third player in the Open Era to reach this milestone after Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Big-3.#RolandGarros2022 #rolandgarros pic.twitter.com/DyG8HfBflH— OptaAce (@OptaAce) May 25, 2022
The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.
Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.
That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.
Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.
Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents
As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.
Nadal – 27/22
Moutet – 16/24
Nadal – 1/2
Moutet – 0/3
BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/12
Moutet – 2/4