Nadal, Federer cruise in Paris

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after beating Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Friday. Photo: AP

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after beating Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Friday. Photo: AP  

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal set the winning example as the French Open took advantage of a day of sunshine on Friday to catch up the schedule after two days of schedule-wrecking rain.

The elite pair led a sweep of the top five with Federer into the fourth round and Nadal one behind in the third.

Top-seed Federer won the 700th ATP match of his career as he easily handled German Julian Reister 6-4, 6-0, 6-4.

Nadal made up for lost time after his match was washed out a day earlier, defeating Argentine Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in just over 90 minutes.

Third-seed Novak Djokovic showed he’s getting his spring allergies under control with a victory over Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Murray downs Baghdatis

Andy Murray overcame a third set lapse where he won just 10 points, to roll Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2. Fifth-seed Robin Soderling beat Spain’s Albert Montanes 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

Murray had a simple explanation for his temporary fade: “I didn’t play a very good set, that was it. That’s all that happened — I didn’t play well, I made mistakes.”

Federer cannot be more pleased after three straight set wins and the loss of a modest 27 games in nine nets as he takes on good friend Stan Wawrinka for the second time in as many events.

Wawrinka stopped Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 a day after the Italian completed a two-day win over Gael Monfils. “I feel fine,” said Federer.

“From a ranking standpoint, I haven’t played top guys yet. But I’ve faced dangerous players who are skilful on this surface. The guy today just won five matches (including qualifying) here in Paris, so you can never underestimate those kinds of players.

“With my own form I’m very happy. I’m ready to mix up my game playing aggressive. I’m getting very few breaks, and that’s obviously always a good thing looking ahead.”

“I played a little bit better, but not perfect,” said Nadal. “It is still a little bit of improvement. It’s always important to play a little bit better every day.

“I’m happy for the victory. It was not easy, as he’s a good player. So it’s a good win for me.”

Hewitt to meet Nadal

Australian grinder Lleyton Hewitt put in a five-set performance to oust Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 for a third round spot against Nadal.

“I’ve got nothing to lose out there,” said the two-time Grand Slam winner. “It’s a matter of going out there and playing my game, and hopefully I can hit the ball well.”

French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga held off Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4.

Kuznetsova exits

On the women’s side, Serena and Venus Williams also followed the winning script, with Serena winning her second round match over Julia Georges 6-1, 6-1 and number two Venus reaching fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Dominika Cibulkova.

Elena Dementieva outlasted Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-4, while Maria Kirilenko upset defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 5:55:04 AM |

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