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Nadal backs Thiem for bright future after French Open win

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Originally published on 29/05/14

The match-up between the rising Austrian talent and the eight-time champion was expected to be one of the highlights of the second round in Paris, with some even tipping Thiem to trouble the Spaniard. But although the 20-year-old showed flashes of his potential with booming winners off both wings, he lacked the consistency to cause another upset as he did against Stan Wawrinka in Madrid.

Nadal, though, has no doubts the Austrian is one to watch out for in the future. “He has everything,” said the Spaniard in his on-court interview. “The most important things he has; a good serve, very powerful shots from the baseline. I don’t see any reasons he will not be in the very top positions in the future. He will have his chances to become a top star and fight for these tournaments. I think that he has huge potential and he could be one of the players who is going to replace us. His tennis style is really good."

The world No.1 will now face Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in the next round after he beat Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-4. The Spaniard has won both previous meetings against Mayer, including on clay in Acapulco earlier this year, and says he is pleased with the way his game is progressing.

“I felt pretty good, I was hitting very well with my backhand and with my forehand, improving a bit, playing a bit higher and longer,” he said. “Even though it’s a difficult court I always bring a positive feeling and I think I played a very good match against a tough opponent. I made a good base today, not making many mistakes, playing long points without missing.”

Joining Nadal in the third round is Andy Murray after he beat Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3 6-1 6-3. The world no.8 will face Dusseldorf champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in the next round following his straight-sets victory over Denis Istomin.

"It was a good serving performance today, especially when I was down in games," said Murray. "In the game I got broken right at the end, it was not down to my serving, really. I just missed a few other shots. I was just trying to make sure that my intensity was there every moment, especially at the beginning of the sets. I managed to get ahead early in all of them, and that helped."

David Ferrer is also into round three after a 6-2 6-3 6-2 victory over Simone Bolelli, but the Spaniard is still looking to improve. He said: “I didn't really feel that great. I have to gain confidence, to start with, and on the short points I have to hit the balls harder. I hope that I'll improve my game.”

American Donald Young, who had never won a match at Roland Garros before this year, recorded an impressive 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3 win over no.26 seed Feliciano Lopez. The 25-year-old former world junior No.1 hopes this is the start of a more consistent streak. “Would I love to be further along by now? Yeah, for sure. But it didn't happen. Now I'm starting to play more consistent than before. So I'm not going to be mad it didn't happen earlier, because that's in the past and I can only deal with what's in the future."

Ivo Karlovic progressed past the second round for the first time at Roland Garros after he beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5 6-3 6-4. The Croatian will next face another big-server, Kevin Anderson, following his 6-2 6-3 6-2 win over French wild card Axel Michon.

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