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Rediff.com  » Sports » Australian Open: Nadal cruises, Roddick fumes

Australian Open: Nadal cruises, Roddick fumes

January 20, 2010 15:22 IST

Rafa NadalRafa Nadal dispelled any concerns over his fitness and form at the Australian Open with an impressive second-round win over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko on Wednesday.

The Spaniard has been plagued by injuries and poor form since winning in Melbourne last year but showed he was starting to get back to his best with an effortless 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Nadal has beaten plenty of more accomplished players than Lacko and knows he will have to play even better if he hopes to defend his title but was unable to conceal his excitement.

"I think I did well," he told reporters. "I think I played right way. Very good match, yeah."

Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova also flexed their muscles to charge into the third round of the first grand slam of the year.

Clijsters was given a solid workout from Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn but was able to raise her game whenever necessary in a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Kuznetsova overcame a minor hiccup with her serve to beat fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-2 and remain on course for a tantalising fourth-round meeting with Clijsters.

"I feel like I'm good enough on the day to beat my opponents," Clijsters said.

"It's not my best tennis yet, but hopefully I can save that when it's really necessary," she added.

Clijsters' next opponent is Russian Nadia Petrova, while Kuznetsova faces Germany's Angelique Kerber.

"I just get extra motivation when I play slams," said Kuznetsova, who won last year's French Open. "This is for real. This is for what you play for."

LOST TEMPER

Andy Roddick eased to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci but the match ended on a sour note when the American argued with the chair umpire over a line call in the final game, risking the possibility of a fine for foul language.

"I don't do it for entertainment. I do it because I strongly believe what I feel," Roddick later explained.

"I think if I believe in something strongly enough, I'm pretty outspoken about it," he added.

Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 Australian Open finalist, cruised through after beating Turkey's Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 and could face Roddick in the fourth round.

There were no major surprises in the women's matches with last year's Australian Open runner-up Dinara Safina and US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki both advancing in straight sets.

Safina overcame a minor stumble when serving for the match in her 6-3, 6-4 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova while Wozniacki made a belated start to her campaign at Melbourne Park, defeating Aleksandra Wozniak in a first-round match that was shuffled back because of rain on the opening day.

The return of Clijsters and fellow Belgian Justine Henin has helped make this championship one of the most open in decades.

Despite winning last year's US Open shortly after making her comeback, Clijsters is only ranked 15th in the world while Henin, who made her comeback this month, needed a wildcard to get into the event.

LOPSIDED DRAW

As the seedings are decided on current rankings, the draw appears lopsided with some of the leading contenders likely to face each other much earlier than usual.

Clijsters, Kuznetsova, Henin, Elena Dementieva and Yanina Wickmayer are all in the same quarter of the draw with Henin and Dementieva meeting in the second round on Wednesday evening.

Britain's Andy Murray was also scheduled to play in the night session, hoping to join his countrywoman Elena Baltacha in the second round.

The British number one beat Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 7-5 but there was no luck for Ireland's new sporting hero Louk Sorenson, who went down to American John Isner in straight sets.

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