Rafa Nadal put down an attempted coup at the French Open as the eight-times champion saw off Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-2 7-5 6-2 to reach the fourth round in commanding fashion.

Mayer went for his shots in a tense second set and broke the world number one back for 4-4, only for the Spaniard to show why he is still the man to beat in Paris.

One moment that may live long in the memory occurred in the second set when the defending champion recovered after being wrongfooted by Mayer to pull off a perfect backhand lob to break decisively for a 6-5 lead.

He followed up with a game to love, sealing the set with a jaw-dropping forehand passing shot before steaming through the third and ending the contest with a service winner.

Nadal next faces Serbian Dusan Lajovic, who beat American Jack Sock 6-4 7-5 6-3 and also has yet to drop a set.

Should he prevail, he could face compatriot David Ferrer in the quarter-final, the man he beat to claim last year's title and one of three men to have beaten him on the red dust this season.

Ferrer building momentum

The fifth-seeded Ferrer continued his stroll through the draw with a 6-2 7-6(2) 6-3 win against Italian Andreas Seppi.

Ferrer blazed through the opening set but let his guard down in the second after an early break and was forced into a tiebreak he won 7-2.

The third set was a mere formality and the fifth seed  finished it off on his first match point with one of his trademark forehand winners down the line.

Earlier, Simona Halep had too many tricks up her sleeve for Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor as the fourth seed glided into the fourth round with a 6-3 6-0 win.

Roland Garros has not been a happy hunting ground for Ana Ivanovic since she won the title in 2008 and the popular Serbian failed to break that jinx as she lost 6-3 6-3 to Czech Lucie Safarova.

Source: Reuters