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Nadal, Murray remain on collision course

sports Updated: Sep 04, 2010 22:45 IST

Agencies
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Top seed Rafael Nadal took full advantage of benevolent weather to storm into the third round of the US Open when forecast rain failed to materialise as an Atlantic storm bypassed the tournament.

The world number one, who is keen to win the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him, hammered Dennis Istomin 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 on Friday.

Nadal's win was his second over the Uzbek, who took a set off him at Queen's Club prior to Wimbledon. Nadal recovered from 5-1 down in the second-set tiebreaker, winning the last six points to stamp his authority on the contest.

Nadal's form was impressive after his uncertain first-round start over Russian Teymuran Gabashvili.

The Spaniard now stands 54-7 this season, in which he won repeat titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. He was one of seven compatriots out of eight to win on the day.

"He was playing very well with a lot of confidence, and I got a bit lucky in the tiebreaker," Nadal said. "But my serve is a working well. It's something I've been trying to improve."

Andy Murray spent less than 90 minutes in a 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Jamaican Dustin with the Scottish fourth seed firing 12 aces and breaking the serve of his 123rd-ranked opponent six times.

The dreadlocked Brown showed a flamboyant edge with shoulder-length hair and colourful, mismatched shoelaces.

"I'd never played him before," Murray said.

"He went for his shots from the start and hit big. I was lucky today with the weather and to get off in straight sets. He's a different kind of a player, a shotmaker who's fun to watch. But I'll have to play better than today."

Spain had a good day at the tournament as eighth seed Fernando Verdasco swept Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 and number 10 David Ferrer handled Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Frenchman Michael Llodra followed his upset of Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych with a defeat of Romanian Victor Hanescu 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2.

Women's holder Kim Clijsters continued her sprint with a 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of Czech Petra Kvitova after once trailing 0-3.

"Even though I was down, I had some opportunities even to break her," Clijsters said. "I was just focused (on) every point."

Clijsters said she still has work to do: "I feel like I'm close to my best. It's only a matter of a few little details that I want to improve. A match like this probably gives me more satisfaction because I beat a good player without even playing my best tennis."

Number three Venus Williams was untroubled by Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-1, 6-2, and French Open finalist Samantha Stosur made more personal progress as the fifth-seeded Australian beat Italian Sara Errani 6-2, 6-3.

The victory was Stosur's second over Errani in less than a week.

Stosur has now made it into the third round or better at each of the four majors with a continuing career breakthrough that began last season with a Roland Garros semi-final.

"I'm really happy with that win," she said after winning her 42nd match of a busy season. "Since my first round, I've played two really good matches now. I couldn't ask for much more."

Stosur is to play for the quarter-finals against Russian 12th seed Elena Dementieva, who defeated Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-2.

Dementieva has now won 12 of 16 meetings in the series, including six of the past seven. Dementieva stands 4-2 over Stosur with the pair last playing in the summer of 2009.

"It's always good to have a positive experience against a player, but it's gonna be a different match," Dementieva said. "We haven't played for a long time, and Samantha really has improved her game a lot."

French Open winner Francesca Schiavone beat Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5.

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