Rafael Nadal eased into the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th successive time with a dominant straight sets win over Karen Khachanov.
Nadal went into his last-16 meeting knowing the potential hurdle of facing Novak Djokovic had been removed after seeing the Serbian suffer defeat to Dominic Thiem in the previous encounter on Court Rainier III.
There was never any danger of the world number one slipping to a stunning defeat, though, as he wrapped up a 6-3 6-2 victory in just an hour and 19 minutes.
Thiem should provide sterner resistance in the last eight, but in this form it is difficult to envisage anybody stopping Nadal extending his own record to 11 Monte Carlo titles.
The tone for a one-sided contest was set early on as Khachanov was broken to love in his first service game.
He proved more stubborn as he saved two break points in the sixth game before surprisingly breaking back to give the world number 38 hope of taking the opener.
That hope was quickly and brutally extinguished by Nadal, however, the Spaniard racing into a 40-0 lead in the next game and taking the second of three break points.
Nadal subsequently served out a set in which he 13 winners to the three from the racquet of Khachanov, who committed 12 unforced errors in the opener.
The Russian could do nothing to stem the tide and was broken in the first game of the second as Nadal dominated in every facet, precise with his powerful groundstrokes from the baseline and equally impressive at the net.
Khachanov could not stir up the same kind of resistance he produced in the first, Nadal losing only three points on serve in the second and securing an enticing encounter with Thiem with a forehand smash.
22. Mai 2018
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