Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Nadal powers through in Melbourne

Rafael Nadal has dropped just 11 games in his opening two matches at the Australian Open after following up his emphatic win in the first round with another good display against Roko Karanusic.

Nadal took just over an hour and a half to claim a 6-2 6-3 6-2 win against the Croatian on Rod Laver Arena to book a third-round clash with Tommy Haas, who defeated Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-1 6-2 6-1 earlier on day four.





Nadal looked a little rusty in the opening four games as a fired up Karanusic threw everything he could at the world number one.





But Nadal broke serve in the fifth game to go 3-2 ahead before closing out the remainder of the set. The Croat was undeterred through and continued to chase the balls being fired back at him.





The top seed was in danger of being broken at 4-3 ahead but Karanusic couldn't convert and Nadal rounded off the set without further trouble.





The 22-year-old Spaniard then wasted little time in sealing the win, breaking Karanusic's serve in the sixth and eighth games.





Nadal cut a relaxed figure after the game, saying: "It was a good result today. The other guy was a little irregular - he sometimes played well and sometimes he made mistakes so it was tough to get the rhythm.





"But the result is good and I think I won without any problems."





It was also a good day for Nadal's compatriot Fernando Verdasco who advanced to the third round in Melbourne for the first time courtesy of an easy 6-1 6-1 6-2 win against Arnaud Clement, of France.





Clement simply had no answer against the 14th seed who hit 28 winners compared to the Frenchman's 12 in a match that lasted just 95 minutes.





Richard Gasquet, the 24th seed, and Fernando Gonzalez, seeded 13, both enjoyed straight sets victories.





Gasquet defeated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3 6-4 6-4, while Gonzalez overcame Guillermo Canas 7-5 6-3 6-4 to reach the third round for the third straight year. Gasquet and Gonzalez will now battle it out for the right to face either Nadal or Haas.





Ivo Karlovic, the 25th seed, was the biggest casualty of the day session, going down 5-7 7-5 4-6 6-4 6-3 to fellow Croat Mario Ancic.





Ancic came from two sets to one down in an epic battle that lasted three hours and 34 minutes and will now play sixth seed Gilles Simon, who beat Australian Chris Guccione 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 6-2.





Other seeds to progress were Gael Monfils, who needed four sets to get past Stefan Koubek, Nicolas Almagro, who beat Fabio Fognini, and Radek Stepanek who needed four sets to defeat qualifier Michael Berrer.



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