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Nadal eases to win over Bjorkman

Wednesday, 06.11.2008, 11:39pm (GMT+6.5)    | Comment | Print | Tell friend

The French Open champion, playing his first singles match of the year on grass after a first-round bye, was quickly into his stride.

Nadal attacked throughout and quickly closed out a 6-2 6-2 victory.

Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt - both chasing a record fifth title here - also made progress, along with world number three Novak Djokovic.

But it was Nadal, who is seeking to end Roger Federer's long winning streak at Wimbledon this year, who was the centre of attention and the Spaniard did not let his fans down with a typically dominant display.

The top seed has never been beyond the quarter-finals here but showed how his game on this surface is improving by outplaying Bjorkman, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2006.

"Right now I am playing well," Nadal said. "Sometimes it's difficult to adapt from clay to grass, but I came through this.

"It was a very important win and I am feeling good. I like it here."

Nadal will face Japan's Kei Nishikori in the last 16 and could meet defending champion Roddick in the semi-finals.

"The most important thing is I have one match already played," Nadal added. "For the first day, it was good for me.

"For sure, this tournament is very important. If I can have a very good result here, it is going to be very important for me. But if I play some matches, that's the most important thing, to prepare well for Wimbledon.

"The important thing is to arrive there playing well. It's going to be very important the first matches.

If you can win the first two, three matches, later is a little bit easier, especially if there is sun, it will be easier because the court is a little bit more tougher, a little bit more easy for me to play.

"I know the grass is a difficult surface for me, but probably I play my best tennis on this surface, too.

"Wimbledon is a very important tournament, but for me it's important to improve on every surface. I am still young. I have to continue improving.

"I have four grand slams already, and I want to have more, if it's possible, on a different surface."

Roddick, who missed the French Open with a shoulder injury, had to work slightly harder on his way to beating fellow American Robbi Ginepri 6-7 (8-6) 6-1 6-1.

 It was my first match on grass this year so it was important to win but also to put in a good performance

Novak Djokovic
Third seed Roddick, who is scheduled to meet British number one Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, added: "I feel very comfortable here, I love playing at this club and hopefully we can get another title.

"My shoulder is getting there. To play three sets healthy is really big for me and hopefully it will pull up well on Thursday."

Hewitt, whose last success here came in 2006, had no problems in despatching Xavier Malisse 6-3 6-2 to set up a meeting with French seventh seed Paul-Henri Mathieu.

The 27-year-old Australian has been playing through a hip injury but broke Malisse early in each set and did not look back.

Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, ran away with the first set against Croatia's Roko Karanusic and served for the match at 5-4 in the second.

But the Serb let that game slip and he had to come through a tense tie-break before wrapping up a 6-2 7-6 (9-7) victory.

"I made some unforced errors towards the end and he made the most of it," Djokovic said.

"It was my first match on grass this year so it was important to win but also to put in a good performance. I am getting used to it - it is much slower these days which suits my game."

Murray, who is scheduled to play in the doubles later on Wednesday, will play Latvia's Ernests Gulbis in his third-round match on Thursday.

Gulbis, who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open, beat Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-7 6-3.

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