Bright spark Nadal sets up another Hewitt clash

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Four-time champion Rafael Nadal set up a fourth French Open meeting in five years with Australia's Lleyton Hewitt on Friday as bright sunshine replaced Thursday

Updated: May 28, 2010 12:30 IST
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"nadal215.jpg"Four-time champion Rafael Nadal set up a fourth French Open meeting in five years with Australia's Lleyton Hewitt on Friday as bright sunshine replaced Thursday's torrential rain at Roland Garros.

Nadal, the second seed, was untroubled as he cruised past Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, a fellow left-hander, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in his delayed second-round clash.

Former world number one Hewitt, the 28th seed and twice a quarter-finalist, displayed his trademark gutsy talents to see off Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Hewitt has played and lost three times against Nadal at the French Open, in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Nadal enjoyed two breaks of serve in each of the first two sets and was quickly 4-1 in front in the third against Zeballos, playing in his first Roland Garros singles draw.

The 25-year-old Argentine, named ATP's newcomer of the year in 2009, briefly rallied by breaking the great Spaniard in the seventh game, but Nadal hit back immediately to take the match after 1hr 45min.

On a day when nine of the top 10 seeds were in action, Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic, a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2008, cantered to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Djokovic will face Romania's Victor Hanescu for a place in the last 16.

"I didn't play well at all. He's a top player and doesn't make many mistakes," said Nishikori, whose ranking has slipped to 246 after 11 months out of the sport following elbow surgery.

"I had a couple of chances, but he played well on the big points. I couldn't go forward or hit winners."

Also going into the third round were Spaniards David Ferrer, the ninth seed, who was 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 ahead of Xavier Malisse when the Belgian retired injured, and Nicolas Almagro, who saw off another Belgian, Steve Darcis.

But Chilean 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez, a semi-finalist in 2009, was surprisingly defeated by Ukrainian world number 56 Oleksandr Dolgopolov Junior, who claimed a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 second-round win and will next face Almagro.

As well as the day's scheduled eight third-round ties, organisers were also squeezing in 14 second-round matches that were washed out by Thursday's rain.

Later on Friday, defending champion Roger Federer was to face German qualifier Julian Reister for a place in the last 16, while British fourth seed Andy Murray was to tackle Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who has won both their previous career meetings.

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