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Nadal feeling positive after win

Updated: 2012-01-19 08:00
( China Daily)

Nadal feeling positive after win

Spaniard has yet to lose a set after dispatching Haas, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

MELBOURNE - Rafael Nadal sailed on in the Australian Open, winning in straight sets over Tommy Haas and happy with the improvement in his injured right knee as he reached the third round on Wednesday.

The world No 2, looking to improve his record at his least productive Grand Slam tournament, took 2 hours and 29 minutes to subdue four-time major semifinalist Haas 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and reach the last 32.

The Spanish 10-time Grand Slam champion came into the tournament grumbling about injuries and the tough schedule, and plans to skip competition in February to rest.

But he has yet to drop a set and did not look in any danger against the German, whose career has been blighted by shoulder injury after playing in three Melbourne semifinals.

Nadal was unconvinced he was put through a tough match against Haas, whose 190 ranking understates his ability.

"I don't know if it's the perfect match, but I won in three sets," he said.

Nadal feeling positive after win

"I started the match playing fantastic, especially the first seven games. But a tough match is when you play five sets. I cannot say I won easy, for sure not.

"You cannot expect to win easy against someone like Tommy Haas. He's a fantastic player. It was a positive match, but not that very demanding. We didn't play 4 1/2 hours, five hours."

Nadal's highly physical game demands plenty of match intensity, but he feels he's in a good place in the opening days of the tournament.

"I really practised well. I've had very good preparation in my opinion. I've already won two matches in straight sets with a positive feeling. I am well," he said.

Nadal, who again played with his right knee heavily bandaged after a pre-tournament injury scare, said he was happy with the knee's progress.

"It's much better and I'm happy with how the knee is improving and I played today without any problems," he said.

The Spaniard claimed the Australian Open title in 2009 but was forced to retire hurt against Andy Murray in 2010, and was hampered by a left adductor injury in his quarter-final defeat to David Ferrer last year.

Haas, at 33 years and nine months the oldest player in the men's singles draw, reached three Melbourne semifinals in 1999, 2002 and 2007, and provided a reminder of his former glories with some signature forehands and backhands.

Shoulder operations have robbed Haas of making greater use of his undoubted talent, but he got the thumbs-up from Nadal.

"He's a fantastic player and he's had a lot of injuries over the last couple of years and it's great to see him back," Nadal said.

"I think he played well. He played aggressive. He played with very good second serves. A few times his first serve was really difficult to read."

Haas, who reached the No 2 ranking in 2002 before a frustrating succession of injuries sent his ranking into free-fall, had his opening two service games broken as Nadal began strongly.

Agence France-Presse

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