PARIS- Rafael Nadal handed out a brutal French Open lesson to highly-rated Dominic Thiem yesterday as Roland Garros took a breather from the shocks that rocked the tournament.
Defending champion Nadal cruised to a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory over his 20-year-old Austrian opponent to reach the third round.
Fifth-seeded compatriot David Ferrer, the runner-up in 2013, and Andy Murray, the seventh seeded Wimbledon champion, also cruised through.
Following the exit of world number three Stan Wawrinka and the defeats of women's top seeds Serena Williams and Li Na, yesterday at the French Open was a sedate affair.
Eight-time winner Nadal, bidding to be the first man to clinch five Roland Garros titles in a row, had been expected to face a severe test from world number 57 Thiem.
But the Austrian, who trains for big matches by running through forests carrying tree trunks to build stamina, ran out of steam on Philippe Chatrier court despite showing occasional glimpses of potential.
Nadal took his career record in Paris to 61 wins against a single loss and goes on to face Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
"Dominic is a dangerous player and I knew that if I wasn't playing well then I'd be in trouble," said Nadal.
"But he is a future star, 100 per cent. His level of ball is very high, he is strong on the forehand and backhand. He has everything to be a big champion."
Thiem had beaten Australian Open champion Wawrinka in Madrid and gave 27-year-old Nadal plenty to think about in an eight-minute opening game.
But Nadal proceeded to pounce on Thiem's raw inconsistencies, the young Austrian breaking the Spaniard twice only to be broken himself seven times and committing 41 unforced errors.
Nadal's compatriot Ferrer cruised past Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-3 6-2 and next faces Italy's Andreas Seppi.
Murray, a semi-finalist in 2011, brushed aside Marko Matosevic, the last Australian man in the tournament, 6-3 6-1 6-3 and next faces experienced German player Philipp Kohlschreiber.