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Bright spark Nadal lifts French Open clouds

Four-time champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the French Open third round today as bright sunshine replaced Thursday's torrential rain, which had swept through a despairing Roland Garros.

sports Updated: May 28, 2010 18:13 IST

Four-time champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the French Open third round today as bright sunshine replaced Thursday's torrential rain, which had swept through a despairing Roland Garros.

Nadal, the second seed, was untroubled as he cruised past Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, a fellow left-hander, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, to set up a third-round encounter with either Lleyton Hewitt or Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

Interestingly, Australian former world number one Hewitt has played and lost three times against Nadal at the French Open in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Nadal enjoyed two breaks of serve in each of the first two sets and was quickly 4-1 in front in the third against Zeballos, playing in his first Roland Garros singles draw. The 25-year-old Argentine, named ATP's newcomer of the year in 2009, briefly rallied by breaking the great Spaniard in the seventh game, but Nadal hit back immediately to take the match after 1hr 45min.

Nadal was joined in the third round by compatriots David Ferrer, the ninth seed, who was 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 ahead of Xavier Malisse when the Belgian retired injured, and Nicolas Almagro, who saw off another Belgian, Steve Darcis.

However, Chilean 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez, a semi-finalist in 2009, was surprisingly defeated by Ukrainian world number 56 Oleksandr Dolgopolov Junior, who claimed a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 second-round win and will next face Almagro.

Along with the day's scheduled eight third-round ties, organisers were also squeezing in 14 second-round matches that were washed out by Thursday's rain.

Later today, defending champion Roger Federer is to face German qualifier Julian Reister for a place in the last 16, while British fourth seed Andy Murray is to tackle Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who has won both their previous career meetings.