French Open: Nadal marches into Round 3, brutally beats Thiem
Defending champion Rafael Nadal handed out a bruising lesson to highly-rated Austrian Dominic Thiem on Thursday as a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory took the Spaniard into the French Open third round.tennis Updated: May 29, 2014 21:40 IST
Defending champion Rafael Nadal handed out a bruising lesson to highly-rated Austrian Dominic Thiem on Thursday as a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory took the Spaniard into the French Open third round.
Eight-time winner Nadal, bidding to be the first man to clinch five Roland Garros titles in a row, had been expected to face a severe test from the 20-year-old world number 57.
But Thiem, who trains for big matches by running through forests carrying tree trunks to build stamina, ran out of steam on Philippe Chatrier court despite showing occasional glimpses of potential.
Nadal took his career record in Paris to 61 wins against a single loss and goes on to face Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
"Dominic is a dangerous player and I knew that if I wasn't playing well then I'd be in trouble," said Nadal.
"But he is a future star, 100%. His level of ball is very high, he is strong on the forehand and backhand. He has everything to be a big champion."
Thiem had beaten Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in Madrid and gave 27-year-old Nadal plenty to think about in an eight-minute opening game.
But Nadal proceeded to pounce on Thiem's raw inconsistencies which saw the young Austrian break the Spaniard twice only to be broken himself seven times and commit 41 unforced errors.
Thiem dismissed suggestions that Nadal, having lost three times on European clay in the run-up to Roland Garros for the first time in 10 years, was a man at the crossroads.
"I think everybody wants this crisis which everybody says he has. I don't think he has. There are only a few players who can hurt him in this tournament," he said.
Nadal's compatriot David Ferrer, the fifth seed and last year's runner-up, cruised past Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 and next faces Italy's Andreas Seppi.
Donald Young, the former world junior number one who has consistently struggled to live up the huge hype surrounding him, made the third round for the first time by beating Spanish 26th seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.
"Hindsight is 20/20. The hype came because at the time I was doing things no one else had done," he said.
"Looking at it again, you might do some things different, but I can't do it now. If I had it over to do again, I probably would do a few things different."
Battle of the tall guys
Big-serving Ivo Karlovic followed up his defeat of 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, which was his first in Paris in seven years, by defeating Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer.
Karlovic fired 24 aces and didn't face a break point as he made the third round for the first time.
The 2.11m (6ft 11in) Karlovic next faces 2.03m (6ft 8in) Kevin Anderson of South Africa who brushed aside Axel Michon, the world number 206 from France, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Looking to make the most of the shock defeats of top seeds Serena Williams and Li Na in the women's draw, Serb sixth seed Jelena Jankovic, three times a semi-finalist, eased past Japan's Kurumi Nara 7-5, 6-0.
"There is still lots of great players in the draw and every match gets tougher as we progress through the tournament," said Jankovic.
Sloane Stephens, the 15th seed and top American following the defeat of defending champion Williams, saw off Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-3.
Russian 27th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the champion in 2009, beat Italy's Camila Giorgi 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
In a match held over from Wednesday, Argentina's Paula Ormaechea came back from 6-2, 5-3 down to beat Romania's Monica Niculescu 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 and will face title favourite Maria Sharapova for a place in the last 16.
France's Kristina Mladenovic, who shocked Chinese second seed Li in the first round, made the third round for the first time with a 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-3 win over Alison Riske of the United States.
Victories for Maria-Teresa Torro Flor and Silvia Soler-Espinosa marked the first time since 2001 at any Grand Slam that four Spanish women made the last 32.
Italian 10th seed Sara Errani, the 2012 runner-up, defeated Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-2, 6-4.
Later Thursday, women's fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania, the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half of the draw, faces British qualifier Heather Watson.
Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, faces New Zealand's Marina Erakovic against whom she boasts a 3-0 record.
Britain's Andy Murray, the seventh seeded Wimbledon champion, plays Marko Matosevic, the last Australian man in the tournament whose opening round win was the first of his career at the majors after 12 defeats.