Federer and Nadal continue smooth progress in Paris

Roger Federer was pleased with his form but Rafael Nadal felt there was more improvement to come from himself as both secured straightforward victories at the French Open today.

Roger Federer was pleased with his form but Rafael Nadal felt there was more improvement to come from himself as both secured straightforward victories at the French Open today.

Defending champion Federer produced a near-identical performance to his opening two wins to ease past Julian Reister in the third round.

Yet again, world number one Federer did not have it all his own way in the first set on Suzanne Lenglen Court, wasting seven break points early on.

But he then reeled off nine games in a row on the way to a 6-4 6-0 6-4 win in just one hour 33 minutes, setting up a last-16 clash with 20th seed Stanislas Wawrinka or Fabio Fognini.

Federer said: “With my own form, I’m very happy. I’m ready to mix up my game playing aggressive.

“I’m not sure today if I had to face break points. I’m getting very few breaks, and that’s obviously always a good thing looking ahead.”

Today saw Federer face an opponent who was playing just his fourth event on the main tour, with the German’s run to round three the first time he had won back-to-back matches.

The 24-year-old qualifier, who shocked 27th seed Feliciano Lopez in his opening match, made a nervy start to his first meeting with the world number one.

But he recovered from 0-40 15-40 down in his first two service games to hold and was level at 4-3 up on serve when it all went horribly wrong.

He won just one point in his next four service games as Federer took a stranglehold on proceedings, the German gifting his opponent each one of his breaks.

World number 165 Reister stopped the rot by holding his opening two service games in the third set, but Federer broke in game five and that ultimately proved enough.

Four-time champion Nadal made short work of Argentinian Horacio Zeballas in a second-round match that was postponed from yesterday due to the rain.

His 6-2 6-2 6-3 success was just as comfortable as his opening victory and set up an intriguing third-round meeting with 28th seed Lleyton Hewitt tomorrow.

“I improved a little bit, I played a little bit better. But sure, not perfect,” said Nadal, who had a brief wobble in the third set.

“It’s always important to play a little bit better every day. Today I’m happy for the victory, but I hope to keep improving.”

Hewitt needed five sets to beat Denis Istomin 1-6 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2 in a topsy-turvy affair.

Third seed Novak Djokovic had few problems dispatching Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 6-4 and will face Victor Hanescu (31), who beat Yuri Schukin 6-3 6-4 6-2.

On a hectic day of catch-up for second-round matches, ninth seed David Ferrer progressed after Xavier Malisse was forced to retire at 6-2 6-2 2-0 down.

There were also wins for seventh seed Fernando Verdasco, 22nd seed Jurgen Melzer, 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero (16), Nicolas Almagro (19) and Philipp Kohlschreiber (30).

The only shock saw 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez dumped out 6-3 6-4 6-3 by Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr.

Ivan Ljubicic (14) and Thomaz Bellucci (24) both won matches which were level at one set all when suspended yesterday.

Ljubicic survived with a marathon 6-2 6-7 (8/10) 4-6 6-1 10-8 victory over Mardy Fish, while Bellucci also needed five sets to beat Pablo Andujar 1-6 6-3 2-6 6-4 6-2.

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