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Rediff.com  » Sports » French Open Photos: Nadal gains momentum, Ferrer eases through

French Open Photos: Nadal gains momentum, Ferrer eases through

Last updated on: May 30, 2014 06:00 IST

French Open Photos: Nadal gains momentum, Ferrer eases through

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Rafa Nadal passed his French Open second-round test with flying colours on Thursday, showing flashes of his intimidating best in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over talented Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem.

The eight-times champion from Spain applauded his 20-year-old opponent after being tested on court Philippe Chatrier more than the scoreline suggested.

"His ball is so high he was able to hit strong he has completely everything to become a champion," said the world No.1, who for the first time arrived at Roland Garros having lost three matches on his favoured clay this season.

"I think today I played a solid match, I knew that if I didn't I would be in trouble."

He briefly was in the third set when Thiem, who stunned world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the second round of the Madrid Masters this month, broke and held serve to open a 3-1 lead.

But Nadal won the remaining games, ending the contest on his second match point when the Austrian sent a forehand long.

Nadal, who next faces Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili or Argentine Leonardo Mayer, is on a quarter-final collision course with last year's runner-up and compatriot David Ferrer.

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Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his match against Dominic Thiem of Austria
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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'My season on clay has been good'

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Fifth seed Ferrer, one of three men to beat Nadal on clay this season, wasted little time in demolishing Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

"I am ready for the next round and was very happy with my performance, especially with my consistency," he said.

"My season on clay has been good (when asked about beating Nadal on clay this season). I have a good feel but I'm focusing on the moment."

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Image: David Ferrer of Spain returns a shot against Simone Bolelli of Italy
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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Jankovic proved strong on serve to hold off Nara

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In the absence of the Williams sisters, 15th seed Sloane Stephens raised American morale by easing past Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Stephens followed her teenage compatriot Taylor Townsend, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to go past the second round at Roland Garros since 2009 on the day world No.1 Serena Williams and her elder sister Venus were knocked out.

The 21-year-old Stephens blazed through the opening set before running into a spot of bother midway through the second as Hercog upped her game but the American ended the contest on her second match point with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Sixth seed Jelena Jankovic proved strong on serve to hold off Japanese Kurumi Nara, who collapsed in the second set in a 7-5, 6-0 defeat by the Serbian who is a three-times semi-finalist in Paris.

"It was not easy, she is returning a lot of balls and the court is heavy and the conditions generally are heavy," Jankovic said.

"There are still a lot of great players in the draw, every round is going to be tough. The opponents get more and more difficult."

Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian 27th seed, laboured to a 7-6(5) 6-3 win over Italian Camila Giorgi.

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Image: Jelena Jankovic of Serbia returns a shot against Kurumi Nara of Japan
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Murray outclasses Matosevic to reach third round

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Seventh seed Andy Murray outclassed Australia's Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the French Open third round, conceding only seven games in a two-hour masterclass.

The pattern was set in the first game as Wimbledon champion Murray broke serve and he went on to dominate a player appearing in the second round of a grand slam for the first time.

Matosevic hung on grimly in the opening set and did have a chance to level when he was 0-40 ahead on Murray's serve in the eighth game but he failed to take his chance and was never close to his opponent again.

Briton Murray, who missed last year's French Open with a back injury, was broken for the first time when he served at 5-2 in the third set but hit back immediately with a love game to set up a clash with Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Bosnia-born Matosevic had defeated Dustin Brown in the first round to end a 12-match losing streak at the majors.


Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain returns a shot
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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