Top seed Rafael Nadal booked his spot in the last 16 of the ATP Western and Southern Open with a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet.
It was far from a polished performance in Cincinnati – where the start of the match was delayed due to rain – but incoming world number one and 2013 champion Nadal posted a 6-3 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
Nadal – beaten in the last 16 in Montreal last week – will face fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas after extending his head-to-head record against Gasquet to 15-0.
History was firmly stacked against Gasquet, but the Frenchman made a contest of it early at the ATP 1000 event as both players struggled on serve in hot and humid conditions, tallying 14 unforced errors apiece.
Gasquet saved a pair of break points early, while he had a chance of his own on Nadal's serve but wasted it after being pushed deep into the back court.
Nadal eventually got the break in the fourth game, converting thanks to a Gasquet double fault.
The 15-time grand slam champion then came from 0-30 down in the very next game to consolidate the break and he was not to be denied as he wrapped up his 24th consecutive set against Gasquet with an ace.
Gasquet looked dejected at the end of the first set and there was only ever going to be one winner.
Nadal went up a break in the second set after breaking to love in the third game for a 2-1 advantage, while Gasquet continued to hang in there, the veteran went on to claim a 15th successive win against his opponent.