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Federer, Nadal cruise in Hamburg

May 15, 2008 09:45 IST

Roger Federer began the defence of his Hamburg Masters title with an effortless 6-1, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen, while Rafael Nadal came through a tougher than expected match with Italy's Potito Starace 6-4, 7-6.

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World number one Federer needed just 57 minutes to rack up his ninth straight-sets victory from nine meetings with the Finn and reach the third round at a stroll.

"I know I've had a lot of good results against him but he can cause problems so I'm very happy," Federer said at a news conference after a satisfying clay-court display.

Nadal, the man Federer beat to win his fourth Hamburg title last year, had to work a lot harder to beat the unseeded Starace and was lucky to come through the second-set tiebreak 8-6.

Starace double faulted at set-point leading 6-5 in that tiebreak and the Italian immediately put a simple forehand into the net to gift the world number two a match-point.

That was enough for Nadal, who will next face Andy Murray after the British 15th seed won easily against Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-3, 6-3 out on court one.

"I'm not expected to win the match at all," said Murray, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday on Thursday. "But if I can perform as I did today I think I can give him a good game."

Marat Safin, a former world number one, maintained his momentum at the tournament to reach the third round with a 7-5 6-4 win over ninth seed Tomas Berdych.

That was one of several upsets on day three of the 2.27 million euro ($3.51 million) tournament.

American seventh seed James Blake fell to Serb Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours, while Croat Ivo Karlovic saw off 13th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 3-6, 6-2, 7-6.

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, the beaten finalist in Rome last week, lost 7-5, 7-5 to Germany's Nicolas Kiefer, while unseeded Swede Robin Soderling beat French 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Australian Open runner-up, 6-2, 7-5.

World number three Novak Djokovic was due to face Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela later on Wednesday.

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