Nadal booked his place in the fourth round of the French Open with an emphatic straight-set win over home favourite Gasquet on Philippe-Chatrier - 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
"I played very well, I'm sorry for Richard, he is a good friend and a good person", said Nadal.
Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Gasquet chopped a backhand long.
In a match lasting an hour and 58 minutes, Nadal saw off Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a meeting with Germany's Maximilian Marterer, who beat Estonia's Jurgen Zopp 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Simone played very aggressively.
The pair were regarded as two of the best young players of their generation as juniors, but Nadal has won 16 Grand Slam titles while Gasquet has never reached a final at the majors. Heaping pressure on Townsend's serve at 5-3, she earned herself two set points and converted the first, with a forehand victor from the baseline.
Nadal won the first three games on the day, but the 129th-ranked Bolelli raised his level and managed a series of good returns. "He had many chances in the third set", Nadal said.
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The 27th-seeded Gasquet was joined in the third round by fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who advanced past Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (3) over two days after their match was stopped by darkness Wednesday.
As is customary after a win, the player was interviewed by a court side presenter.
Also up later is Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, against 13th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.