Rafael Nadal Beats Alex De Minaur at 2018 Wimbledon

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot against Alex De Minaur of Australia during their Men's Singles third round match on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal's perfect 2018 Wimbledon run continued after a straights-set 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Alex De Minaur in the third round on Saturday.

Entering this year's tournament as the No. 2 seed, Nadal has yet to drop a set through his first three matches.

Prior to the match, former professional Australian tennis player Sam Groth said the following, per James Gray of Express.co:

"You have to be able to rush his forehand, not give him time to get around the hit. If you can do that and get him hitting early, he won't get the force. If you can rush Rafa not just during points but between points as well, you break up his rhythm and he's rattled. If someone isn't in Alex's ear explaining all this to him, they're missing a very big trick."

However, De Minaur, also from Australia, was overmatched from the first serve. He never found an opening to try taking advantage, though things were closer in the third set:

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

Marching on into the fourth round, @RafaelNadal triumphs 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 against Alex de Minaur on Centre Court #Wimbledon https://t.co/zaMuV4csk8

As Jose Morgado of the Record noted, it didn't help De Minaur's cause that Nadal started by putting on his best performance of the tournament:

José Morgado @josemorgado

Nadal wins 12 of the last 14 points of the first set vs De Minaur. 6-1. VERY impressive and his best set of the week by a mile.

De Minaur, 19, committed five double-faults, had an 18-3 disadvantage in points won at the net and was unable to match Nadal in spectacular-shot execution:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

.@RafaelNadal with the tweener 😱 #SCtop10 https://t.co/S6eWvgoEJ4

Nadal, 32, is having one of the best seasons of his career. Saturday's win was his 15th straight victory and his 31st in 33 total matches. He's also going for his fifth singles title in seven tournaments. The last set he dropped came in the quarterfinals of the French Open against Diego Schwartzman.

Since reaching the Wimbledon final in 2011, Nadal hasn't advanced past the fourth round. He's won seven Grand Slams (five at the French Open, two at the U.S. Open) and reached the Australian Open final three times during that stretch.

In the previous five instances when Nadal has advanced past the fourth round, he's made it to the final and won twice.

While grass hasn't been the most friendly surface for Nadal, he's on such a roll right now that it's going to take a special effort from someone to prevent him from capturing a third title at the All England Club.