PARIS: Juan Martin del Potro fired a menacing warning to those already writing Rafael Nadal`s name on the French Open trophy with a bludgeoning 7-5 6-4 6-1 third-round defeat of Spanish claycourter Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Saturday.
The seemingly unstoppable Nadal might be the red-hot favourite to claim an 11th title at Roland Garros next weekend but Argentine powerhouse Del Potro could prove a significant obstacle in the semi-finals.
The way the fifth seed overwhelmed Ramos-Vinolas on Court Philippe Chatrier with his serve and forehand working like clockwork will not have gone unnoticed in the Nadal camp.
"I think I was a bit lucky in the first set because Albert made me run a lot, but I had control of the match in the end and played well in the right moments," Del Potro said.
"I`m playing better every day. Claycourt is not my favourite but I`m enjoying playing here."
Del Potro was given a fight in the first set but after squandering a 5-3 lead he broke Ramos-Vinolas in the 12th game to move ahead.
There was still plenty of resistance in the second set but Del Potro piled on the pressure as Ramos-Vinolas served at 4-5 and pulled two sets clear.
The third was a formality as del Potro moved into the last 16 on the Paris clay for the first time since 2012.