Rafael Nadal follows Novak Djokovic's record

Rafael Nadal follows Novak Djokovic’s record

There have been six rivalries since the start of the Open era, with 17 wins for one player and none for the other. Bjorn Borg beat Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times without defeat and Ivan Lendl repeated the same against Tim Mayotte in the years to come.

Roger Federer is 17-0 against David Ferrer and Mikhail Youzhny and enters the special group after owning two one-sided rivalries. Novak Djokovic went a step further and delivered 18 wins against Gael Monfils without experiencing a defeat.

The Serb had been topping the charts until Saturday night before Rafael Nadal claimed his 18th triumph over Richard Gasquet from as many encounters. Nadal and Gasquet started their rivalry in Estoril 2004, and two youngsters played a three-pointer in their first five duels.

Nadal won them all to gain a boost and a physiological advantage over his contemporary. Rafa lost the opening set tiebreak in Canada in 2008, trailing Richard in sets two and three.

Rafael Nadal has beaten Richard Gasquet in all 18 duels.

Nadal has won 34 straight sets against Gasquet for complete dominance and his name alongside Novak Djokovic in the record books.

Rafa scored his 18th victory over Richard in the third round of the US Open, beating the Frenchman 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and 17 minutes for a place in the last 16. The Spaniard saved six of seven break points and kept the pressure on the other side.

Nadal controlled the pace with 35 winners and 23 unforced errors, earning over half return points to earn seven breaks from 15 opportunities and take home the win. Gasquet created three break chances in the first game of the encounter and Nadal saved them to avoid an early setback.

Rafa broke in the second game and grabbed another return leg to forge a 4-0 advantage. The Spaniard saved a break point in game five and delivered his third break in the next game to make it 6-0 in 42 minutes. Richard got broken in the second game of the second set and found himself trailing 6-0, 2-0 before eventually holding at 3-0 to put his name on the scoreboard.

The Frenchman sprayed a backhand error in game six to find a 5-1 deficit and the Spaniard placed a backhand winner at the net for 6-0, 6-1 in 80 minutes in the next game. Nadal took a 2-0 lead before Gasquet pulled the break back in game four to get some lift.

Both players served well over the next six games to stay in touch at 5-5. Nadal had three break chances in the 11th game and gambled them away. The Spaniard earned and conquered fourth place to earn the crucial break and open a 6-5 lead. Rafa held at 15 in Game 12 to seal the deal and advance to the last 16.

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