Cincinnati :Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, third-ranked Serbian Novak Djokovic and British number four Andy Murray all won on Wednesday to reach the third round of the three million-dollar ATP Cincinnati Masters.
Murray, coming off a victory in Toronto last week, beat France's Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, to book a third-round match against Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who outlasted Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-7 (8/10), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
The Scotsman defeated Nadal and Swiss world number two Roger Federer in his last two matches in Toronto to claim his first title of the year.
Chardy fired 15 aces at Murray, who responded with eight of his own and denied the Frenchman on 3-of-4 break chances while capitalizing on 6-of-14 such opportunities to advance after two hours and nine minutes.
Nadal, the reigning Wimbledon and French Open champion, advanced with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over big-serving American Taylor Dent.
"I was waiting to have my chances, but you are out of the rhythm from the baseline because he's not giving to you the long point, and it's difficult to have the feel of the ball," Nadal said.
"He broke me and I was a little bit lucky after that to have the break. It was a close second set but I think I had more chances than him in the second. It was closer in the second but I still think I deserved to win."
The Spaniard will next face Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who eliminated Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.
Nadal and the other top-eight seeds all received first-round byes at the last hardcourt tuneup event before the US Open, which starts August 30.
Djokovic defeated compatriot Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-5, but was unhappy at how he closed out the match.
"I did have a decrease of the level in the second set," Djokovic said. "It was a very ugly set with a lot of unforced errors on both sides, a lot of double faults. I was struggling to hit the ball really well. In the important moments when I needed to break, I did. It's good to go through in straight sets."
Djokovic, runner-up here the past two years, will next face Argentina's David Nalbandian, a winner two weeks ago at Washington. The South American trailed 4-5 when American John Isner retired from their match.
The Serbian star continues to work on his serve, which was a major weapon in his run to his lone Grand Slam crown at the 2008 Australian Open.
Djokovic was overtaken by 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the rankings this week. Federer was to meet Uzbek qualifier Denis Istomin in a later match.