Relentless Nadal into last 16
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:31
The Spaniard, aiming for a fifth successive title at Roland Garros, was not entirely convincing in his opening two wins – over Marcos Daniel and Teimuraz Gabashvili – but he stepped up a gear on Friday, smashing Hewitt 6-1 6-3 6-1.
Robin Soderling, the 23rd seed, is Nadal’s next opponent and he has warned the Swede about his improving form, saying: “I felt much better today than the other days. I’ve improved a little bit every day. You must be playing well to beat Lleyton. It’s an amazing result for me. I’m happy, really happy.”
Third seed Andy Murray, who is a potential semi-final opponent for Nadal, moved into the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time after opponent Janko Tipsarevic retired from their match with a hamstring injury.
The British number one was ahead 7/6 (7/3) 6-3 when the Serb pulled up, and is now in uncharted territory. He plays Marin Cilic in round four.
Fourth seed Novak Djokovic wasted precious little time booking his place in the third round. The Serbian resumed in a strong position after his match against Sergiy Stakhovsky was stopped for bad light on Thursday night with Djokovic two sets up.
Ukraine’s Stakhovsky won just one game on Friday as his 22-year-old opponent clinched a 6-3 6-4 6-1 success and a meeting on Sunday with Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 29th seed and a winner in five sets against 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.
The third round kicked off on Friday with eighth seed Fernando Verdasco getting the better of fellow Spaniard and good friend Nicolas Almagro 6-2 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (10/8).
Verdasco will next play Nikolay Davydenko, the only Russian remaining in the draw from the eight that started. The 10th seed eliminated Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the 17th seed, 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Elsewhere Fernando Gonzalez beat Josselin Ouanna 7-5 6-3 7-5 while Victor Hanescu was a surprise 6-4 6-4 6-2 winner over seventh seed Gilles Simon.