Rafael Nadal earns another win in straight sets at French Open

PARIS -- Rafael Nadal, who hasn't lost a set at the French Open since 2015, completed another win in straight sets at Roland Garros on Thursday to reach the third round of the Grand Slam event.

Nadal is once again the big favorite in Paris following a tremendous clay-court season, and the 10-time champion lived up to the status by easily dispatching Guido Pella of Argentina 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Nadal said there's still room for improvement.

"To be honest, I always try to improve the important things," he said, "Tomorrow, I'm going to practice, for example, with the idea that today my backhand didn't open the court sufficiently."

Nadal last dropped a set at the French Open in a quarterfinal loss to Novak Djokovic in 2015. In 2016, Nadal withdrew with an injured left wrist after a pair of easy victories, then claimed every set he played last year en route to the trophy.

Against Pella, the top-ranked Spaniard saved all four break points he faced and hit 37 winners. He will be up against Richard Gasquet of France in the next round.

"I have a great relationship with him, always," Nadal said of Gasquet. "Since we were kids. We met each other first time when we were 12."

Third-seeded Marin Cilic overcame a concentration lapse to advance to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5 victory over Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.

The Croatian, who won the US Open in 2014 and was a quarterfinalist here last year, was cruising until the third set, when Hurkacz broke him for the only time in the match. Cilic will next play 46th-ranked Steve Johnson of the United States.

Gasquet advanced to the third round for the eighth straight year by defeating Malek Jaziri 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.

The 27th-seeded Gasquet was joined in the third round by fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who advanced past Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (3) over two days after their match was stopped by darkness Wednesday.

At No. 16, Pouille is the highest-ranked Frenchman in the main draw. It has been 35 years since a player from the host nation lifted the men's trophy in Paris.

The French Open debut for Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov came to an end with a mistake-filled 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-4 loss to 70th-ranked Maximilian Marterer, who is also appearing in his first main draw at Roland Garros.

The 19-year-old Shapovalov, the 24th seed, had more double-faults (11) than aces (6) and far more unforced errors overall (82) than winners (52).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.