Four-time champion Rafael Nadal (pictured) sauntered into the third round of the French Open with a straight-sets win over Argentina's Horacio Zeballos Friday, while rivals Roger Federer and Andy Murray moved one step further to reach round four.
AFP - French Open heavyweights Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lifted the French Open gloom on Friday with the Spanish claycourt king setting up a fourth Roland Garros clash in five years with Lleyton Hewitt.
Defending champion Federer cruised past German qualifier Julian Reister 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 to reach the fourth round and will tackle fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in the quarter-finals.
World 165 Reister, whose career earnings of 170,000 dollars pale against Federer's bank-busting 55 million, held his own until 4-4 in the first set.
But Federer then eased through the gears, allowing his opponent just four points in an 18-minute second set before comfortably wrapping up the affair.
"I feel fine. I haven't faced the top guys yet but the players I have faced are dangerous, they have skills on this surface," said Federer.
"The guy today has played five matches here (three qualifiers and two main draw), so I couldn't underestimate him."
Nadal, the second seed, cruised past Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, a fellow left-hander, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in his delayed second-round clash.
Former world number one Hewitt, the 28th seed and twice a quarter-finalist, displayed his trademark gutsy talents to see off Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Hewitt has played and lost three times against Nadal at the French Open, in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
"Lleyton is a very dangerous guy and he plays at a very high level. He's going to do his best to win," said Nadal, who is the strong favourite to regain his title, having swept the Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid Masters in the run-up to Paris.
Hewitt, playing in his 11th Roland Garros, insists he will have nothing to lose against Nadal with a last 16 place up for grabs.
"He won't need to do anything different because he's cleaned me up the last few times," said the Australian.
"I just need to execute what I need to do and do it bloody well."
Britain's Andy Murray, the fourth seed, joined Federer in the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 win over Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
Murray, who made the quarter-finals in 2009 and was playing for the third consecutive day, will face Czech 15th seed Tomas Berdych, who enjoyed a straight sets win over America's John Isner, for a place in the last eight.
"He's a big guy with a big serve. He hits the ball hard and flat. He takes a lot of risks and plays low percentage tennis," said Murray of Berdych.
"He doesn't feel uncomfortable going for his shots, so you don't probably have to run a lot."
After Thursday's torrential rain brought havoc to the programme, organisers were squeezing in 14 second round matches as well as the eight scheduled third round encounters.
Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic, a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2008, cantered to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori and will face Romania's Victor Hanescu for a place in the last 16.
Djokovic believes it is not a foregone conclusion that the men's final will be another Federer-Nadal showdown.
"Everybody has a chance. You have to believe that you can go all the way through. Only with that thinking can you beat those guys," he said.
"They're the two biggest favourites. But the final is a long way off."
Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling, last year's runner-up, fired an impressive 20 aces in his 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 third-round win over Spain's Albert Montanes.
He will face Croatia's 11th seed Marin Cilic, who needed five sets to see off Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, for a quarter-final place.
French eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saw off Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker in four sets and takes on either Russia's Mikhail Youzhny or Viktor Troicki of Serbia.
Chilean 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez, a semi-finalist in 2009, was the day's biggest casualty, losing to Ukrainian world number 56 Oleksandr Dolgopolov Junior 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round.
Date created : 2010-05-28