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Nadal impressive as Federer takes free pass

Spain's Rafael Nadal bulldozed past Tommy Haas at the Australian Open today as Swiss great Roger Federer reached the third round without even picking up his racquet.

sports Updated: Jan 18, 2012 21:41 IST
Australian Open,Tommy Haas,Rafael Nadal

Spain's Rafael Nadal bulldozed past Tommy Haas at the Australian Open on Wednesday as Swiss great Roger Federer reached the third round without even picking up his racquet.

Women's champion Kim Clijsters raced through in just 47 minutes to stay on course for a clash with China's Li Na, while former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone was stunned by fellow Italian Romina Oprandi.

But top seed Caroline Wozniacki survived a second-set fightback by Georgia's Anna Tatishvili to win 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

Federer, seeking his first grand slam win in two years, received a boost when Germany's Andreas Beck withdrew from their match with a back problem, giving the Swiss free passage to the third round.

The rest will be welcome for Federer, 30, who was forced out of this month's Qatar Open with back spasms and will break Jimmy Connors's record of 233 grand slam wins if he reaches the final.

"I would have loved to play. Feel sorry for the fans, you know, who were excited to see me on Hisense today. I was ready to go," he said.

"I was just coming for my warm-up hit, so I was completely focusing on the match.... Now I'll just take it easy this afternoon and come out tomorrow and hit intensely tomorrow, and then I'll be ready for the next match."

Federer's opponent on Friday is either Ivo Karlovic or Carlos Berlocq, while Nadal will play Donald Young or Lukas Lacko after his 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 over the classy Haas.

Nadal, moving freely despite a heavily bandaged right knee, was broken in the first and third sets but he always looked in control against the injury-hit German, who has reached the semi-finals on three occasions.

"He's a fantastic player and he's had a lot of injuries over the last couple of years and it's great to see him back," said Nadal, who suffered a dramatic flare-up in his long-troubled knee on the eve of the tournament.

"It's much better and I'm happy with how the knee is improving and I played today without any problems," added the 10-time grand slam-winner.

Clijsters brushed past France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-0, 6-1, while French Open winner Li dispatched Australian wildcard Olivia Rogowska 6-2, 6-2 to stay on track for a fourth-round meeting with the Belgian.

But Schiavone followed US Open champion Samantha Stosur out of the tournament when she was shocked by 80th-ranked compatriot Romina Oprandi, who won 6-4, 6-3.

"I think it was a really bad match for me," Schiavone said. "I couldn't play like I was trying to play."

Daniela Hantuchova and Jelena Jankovic also went through in the women's draw, while Juan Martin del Potro, Feliciano Lopez and Tomas Berdych were the other men's seeds to progress.

Meanwhile, men's tour chief Brad Drewett admitted there were "frustrations" among players but played down swirling talk of a strike after several spoke out over pay and conditions.

"There are frustrations out there. As I said, I plan to take them on board. I've heard them," he said.

The new Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) boss was speaking after an unprecedented groundswell of discontent prompted strike rumours and a brief rift between Nadal and Federer.

Players have long complained about the tough tennis calendar, often blaming it for injuries, and they are reportedly unhappy over Davis Cup scheduling and prize money at grand slams.

First Published: Jan 18, 2012 15:09 IST