Nadal masters young apprentice, Murray hits form

Thu May 29, 2014 2:42pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal provided a claycourt lesson for one of the game's young apprentices at the French Open when he crushed rising Austrian Dominic Thiem with a masterly display to reach the third round on Thursday.

The eight-times champion showed flashes of his intimidating best in a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win that was tougher than the scoreline suggested but was never seriously in doubt against a player of whom grand things are expected.

While world No.1 Nadal improved his Roland Garros record to 61-1 in ruthless fashion, prospective semi-final opponent Andy Murray cruised into the third round by outclassing Australia's Marinko Matosevic.

Fifth seed David Ferrer, one of three players to beat Nadal on his favoured claycourts this season, also wasted little energy reaching the last 32, demolishing Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-3 6-2.

After the seismic shock of defending champion Serena Williams's second round exit on Wednesday the women's draw was relatively incident free on Day Five, with Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic among the leading seeds to progress.

Perhaps wary of the 20-year-old Thiem's reputation as a rising force in the men's game Nadal was quick to stamp his authority on Philippe Chatrier Court - the rectangle of Parisian clay that remains his fortress.

"I think it was a dangerous match, a dangerous opponent today," Nadal, who appears to be slipping into the groove, said.

I think today I played a solid match, I knew that if I didn't I would be in trouble."   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning his men's singles match against Dominic Thiem of Austria at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 29, 2014.      REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier