Clearly Nikoloz Basilashvili had come to face Rafa Nadal with a plan but, like Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they’re punched in the face.
And that’s what happened in tennis terms to the Georgian when he took on the irrepressible Spaniard in the French Open third round on Friday.
The brutality of Nadal’s destruction of the Georgian on the Roland Garros main showcourt was withering.
The statistics within the 6-0 6-1 6-0 pummeling make for grisly reading. Grisly for Basilashvili, grisly for Nadal’s next opponent Roberto Bautista Agut, grisly for everyone in the draw.
Grisly for everyone except the fourth-seeded Spaniard.
For example, it took Basilashvili until the 12th game of the match to register on the scoreboard.
He won one in four of his first serve points in the opening set.
The number of winners he struck in the match could be counted on one hand, and his 34 unforced errors almost matched the entire number of points he won all match — 36.
Yet Basilashvili is no rookie: Nadal did this to him. Consider that the 25-year-old Georgian had already this year beaten then world number eight Dominic Thiem.
Nadal is a unique creature on clay, though. His statistics are mind-boggling.
Friday’s victory was his 100th best-of-five-set match on the slow surface, and he now has a staggering win-loss ratio of 98-2.
You would find few takers to bet against him winning a 10th French Open come next Sunday.