Federer advances to face Hewitt while Nadal cruises | sports | Hindustan Times
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Federer advances to face Hewitt while Nadal cruises

sports Updated: Sep 03, 2009 12:40 IST
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Five-time defending champion Roger Federer booked a third-round US Open date with former world number one Lleyton Hewitt while six-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal cruised in his opener.

World number one Federer, seeking his 16th career Grand Slam title, ousted Germany's Simon Greul 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 on Wednesday while Nadal's bid to complete a career Slam began with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Knee tendinitis kept Nadal from defending his 2008 Wimbledon title and sidelined him for two months, making this his first Grand Slam match since losing to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the French Open, a defeat that snapped his four-year title streak at Roland Garros.

"Seems like I was two years outside of competition. I was two months," Nadal said. "I'm fresher than ever in this tournament. I don't know if this fresher is good but I'm fresh."

That's dangerous news for Federer, who has lost to Nadal in five Slam finals and could meet him again for this year's US Open crown.

"Fantastic having him back. It seems like he is doing well. He won very easily and that's great," Federer said. "If he's physically in great shape, obviously he's got a great chance to go far.

"If he's on, he's going to be hard to stop."