Nadal hands young gun Thiem brutal French Open lesson
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns to Austria's Dominic Thiem during their French Open match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on May 29, 2014 - by Patrick Kovarik
Eight-time winner Nadal, bidding to be the first man to clinch five Roland Garros titles in a row, had been expected to face a severe test from the 20-year-old world number 57.
But Thiem, who trains for big matches by running through forests carrying tree trunks to build stamina, ran out of steam on Philippe Chatrier court despite showing occasional glimpses of potential.
Nadal took his career record in Paris to 61 wins against a single loss and goes on to face either Leonardo Mayer of Argentina or Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili.
"Dominic is a dangerous player and I knew that if I wasn't playing well then I'd be in trouble," said Nadal.
"But he is a future star, 100 percent. His level of ball is very high, he is strong on the forehand and backhand. He has everything to be a big champion."
Thiem had beaten Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in Madrid and gave 27-year-old Nadal plenty to think about in an eight-minute opening game.
But Nadal proceeded to pounce on Thiem's raw inconsistencies which saw the young Austrian break the Spaniard twice only to be broken himself seven times and commit 41 unforced errors.
Nadal's compatriot David Ferrer, the fifth seed and last year's runner-up, cruised past Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 and next faces either Italy's Andreas Seppi or Juan Monaco of Argentina.
Ferrer has made the quarter-finals of all of his last nine majors and such was the ease of his fifth win in five against Bolelli that the most challenging part of his day was fielding questions over his grooming.
"I changed my haircut. That's all. But there is nothing superstitious about it," said the Spaniard.
Donald Young, the former world junior number one who has consistently struggled to live up the huge hype surrounding him, made the third round for the first time by beating Spanish 26th seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.
"Hindsight is 20/20. The hype came because at the time I was doing things no one else had done," he said.
"Looking at it again, you might do some things different, but I can't do it now. If I had it over to do again, I probably would do a few things different."
- Battle of the tall guys -
Big-serving Ivo Karlovic followed up his defeat of 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, which was his first in Paris in seven years, by defeating Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer.
Karlovic fired 24 aces and didn't face a break point as he made the third round for the first time.
The 2.11m (6ft 11in) Karlovic next faces 2.03m (6ft 8in) Kevin Anderson of South Africa who brushed aside Axel Michon, the world number 206 from France, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Looking to make the most of the shock defeats of top seeds Serena Williams and Li Na in the women's draw, Serb sixth seed Jelena Jankovic, three times a semi-finalist, eased past Japan's Kurumi Nara 7-5, 6-0.
"There is still lots of great players in the draw and every match gets tougher as we progress through tournament," said Jankovic.
Sloane Stephens, the 15th seed and top American following the defeat of defending champion Williams, saw off Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-3.
Russian 27th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the champion in 2009, beat Italy's Camila Giorgi 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
In a match held over from Wednesday, Argentina's Paula Ormaechea came back from 6-2, 5-3 down to beat Romania's Monica Niculescu 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 and will face Maria Sharapova for a place in the last 16.
Later Thursday, France's Kristina Mladenovic, who shocked Chinese second seed Li in the first round, faces Alison Riske of the United States for a place in the last 32.
Women's fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania, the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half of the draw, faces British qualifier Heather Watson.
Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, faces New Zealand's Marina Erakovic against whom she boasts a 3-0 record.
Britain's Andy Murray, the seventh seeded Wimbledon champion, plays Marko Matosevic, the last Australian man in the tournament whose opening round win was the first of his career after 12 defeats.