Rafael Nadal looked like someone playing in his first couple of Grand Slams in the quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic on Wednesday, not like the man who had won nine of the last 10 French Open titles. Such was the dominance of the Serb and the failings of the best clay-courter of all-time that the end result of this blockbuster last-eight match was a ridiculously easy win for Djokovic, with Nadal suffering only his second ever loss at Roland Garros.
This was a match in which Djokovic entered as the overwhelming favourite, and he showed just why he is the best player in the world, dismantling the former world number one with consummate ease.
Nadal, apart from four games in the first set, where he came back from 4-love down, could not stay with the hitting and recovering powers of Djokovic, and in the end the 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 victory was a thoroughly deserved one for the current best player in the world.
"I lost in 2009 and it was not the end," Nadal, who had a 29th birthday to forget on Wednesday, said. "I lost in 2015, and it is not the end. I hope to be back here the next year with another chance."
Nadal was expected to struggle against Djokovic considering the poor year the Spaniard has had entering into his favourite Grand Slam, but even the staunchest of Nadal fans would not have expected the match to be so lopsided.
Of course, there might be a case in saying that the match might just have swung a different way had Nadal taken the first set to the tie-breaker and won it, because Djokovic did show signs of suffering, only a little, when put under pressure.
Those signs were few and far between, however, and all this match showed was the gap between Djokovic and Nadal – or indeed any other tennis player -- at the moment.
"It is not a big surprise, no, after a year when I didn't win enough before here," Nadal added. "Something that could happen. "When you see the draw, quarterfinals against Novak, obvious that it is early, a big match like that.
"I am happy with the way that I recovered my level the last month, but probably not enough yet to play against and to win against Novak. To play, yes. I competed, but not to win."