Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer progress at Australian Open
Wednesday 18 January 2012
It may not have been as straightforward as Roger Federer's passage into the third round but Rafael Nadal was pleased to have avoided any major drama in progressing at the Australian Open today.
Federer received a walkover when German opponent Andreas Beck was forced out of their second-round clash due to a lower back problem.
The news broke at the same time Nadal was slugging it out on Rod Laver Arena against German veteran Tommy Haas.
But the Spanish second seed, who won 6-4 6-3 6-4, revealed afterwards he was quite happy to have played, and performed well, against a tricky opponent.
Asked if he too would have preferred a bye, he said: "Before the day started yes but now I played and won I am happy."
Nadal had a couple of nervy moments, most notably in the first set when having already relinquished one of the two breaks he claimed to establish a 4-0 lead, he had to face another break point at 5-4.
He escaped, though, thanks to some big serving and cruised through the second.
Haas threatened again by moving 3-1 ahead in the third but Nadal simply upped his game to hit straight back and then broke again to move through to the last 32.
Reflecting on a good work out, he added: "I don't know if it was the perfect match but I won in three sets.
"It was positive but not that demanding (physically). We didn't play for four or five hours."
As for the knee he injured when sitting on a chair on Sunday, Nadal insisted the heavy strapping was merely precautionary.
"It is much better and I am so happy the knee is improving and I am able to play without pain," he said.
Federer was also an injury concern coming into the event after hurting his back during the Qatar Open but it was not tested further today.
The Swiss, seeded number three in Melbourne, revealed he was unaware of Beck's injury until after practice this morning.
"I didn't know anything about it until I saw him in the locker room and he came up to me. I was like 'hey, what's going on? Good to see you again', because he's a good friend. I've practised with him in the past in Switzerland.
"He said 'I'm not so good actually, I have a bad back'. It came as a surprise.
"He said he had a lot of painkillers during the last match. I think it happened four, five days ago. He doesn't want to risk it early in the season. I guess it's the smart decision for him to take."
The 16-time grand slam winner was adamant having an extra day off would not disrupt his momentum.
"I'll just take it easy this afternoon and come out tomorrow and hit intensely and then I'll be ready for the next match," he said.
There will not be a next match for Mardy Fish, who became the highest seed to exit the tournament when he lost to Alejandro Falla.
World number eight Fish turned in a mistake-laden performance, making 58 unforced errors, to hand the Colombian a 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 7-6 (8/6) victory in exactly three hours.
"I didn't play great and he played well," said Fish, who was irritated at Falla's repeated call for the trainer at the changeovers.
"For someone who is in the latter stages of his career and prides himself on his fitness, I don't enjoy that at all," he added.
"I have a hard time calling the trainer for anything. First of all, I wouldn't want the other guy to know that I was hurting in the first place. But to be able to get help for lack of fitness..."
Elsewhere, seventh seed Tomas Berdych eased past diminutive Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-1 6-0 7-6 (7/4), 11th seed Juan Martin Del Potro beat Blaz Kavcic 6-4 7-5 6-3 and left-handed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez overcame Flavio Cipolla 7-5 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.
John Isner progressed after a controversial end to his match against David Nalbandian.
After an epic struggle reached 8-8 in the deciding set and with Nalbandian on break point, chair umpire Kader Nouni overruled a linesperson who had called out an Isner ace.
Television replays not only showed Nouni had made a mistake - the ball was indeed wide - he then compounded the error by refusing Nalbandian the right to challenge via Hawk-Eye due to the time taken by the Argentinian to make the decision.
Isner duly held and then broke a clearly livid Nalbandian in the next game to complete a 4-6 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7/5) 10-8 victory.
"I didn't know what was going on as I was towelling off," Isner told ESPN immediately afterwards. "I guess I was just a little luckier out there."
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food