Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters continued a series of easy wins as the pair of seeds set the winning pace on Thursday into the third round of the Australian Open.
Top-seed Nadal strolled ahead, knocking off American Ryan Sweeting 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. “I played a solid match with a few backhand mistakes,” said Nadal. “My serve has improved a lot since the first day. Generally I’m happy with the match,” he said.
Nadal romped home with 36 winners and eight breaks of serve against an opponent playing in only his eighth Grand Slam. Nadal’s victory was his 27th in Melbourne, where he won the 2009 title.
Women’s third-seed Clijsters had a quick win on court and a great laugh off it after advancing with ease against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3.
Women’s former number one Jelena Jankovic was the day’s the biggest loser, going out to China’s Peng Shuai 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 after leading 4-1 in the opening set.
“The good thing for me is that I’m healthy,” said the Serb who has only been to the second week of a Grand Slam once from her last nine.
“I just have to now continue to work hard and work on my game and really build on my confidence.” Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva stayed the course over young Serb Bojana Jovanovski 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Israeli 10th seed Shahar Peer beat Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-2, while 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, whose racquet snapped off at the grip during play in her previous match, kept it all together for a defeat of Croatian Petra Martic 6-3, 6-4. Russian Nadia Petrova, 13th, ended the run of Alicia Molik with a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Tsonga, Youzhny progress
On the men’s side, Mikhail Youzhny beat Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 to set up a meeting with Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic, first from his country in a decade to reach the third round of a major after beating Frenchman Michael Llodra 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Raonic put in 21 aces as he took the biggest step of his career, competing in only his second Grand Slam. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced over Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-5).