Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters Through to Australian Open Third Round

Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the Australian Open after a routine win over veteran Tommy Haas.

The 25-year-old Spaniard, a champion here in 2009, came into the Haas match with speculation over his fitness ringing in his ears. However, a 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over an outgunned Haas suggested Nadal’s right knee, which he injured before the tournament, isn’t holding him back. After the match, Nadal told reporters:

“I’m very happy about how it improves, I’m able to play without a problem.”

In the women’s tournament, defending champ Kim Clijsters made easy work of her second round match against Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France. Clijsters dismantled her opponent 6-0 6-1 in a 47-minute display of poise and power, then rounded the day off by getnig the Rod Laver Arena crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her younger sister.

Like Nadal, Clijsters arrived in Melbourne beset by rumors that she lacked full fitness – in her case, she retired with a hip problem at a warm-up tournament two weeks ago. However, she also showed no signs of strain.

Elsewhere in the Aussie Open, Roger Federer advanced with a walkover after his opponent Andreas Beck withdrew through injury, women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki notched a 6-1 7-6 win over Anna Tatishvili of Georgia, and 11th seed Juan Martin del Potro looked comfortable while beating Blaz Kavcic 6-4 7-5 6-3.

We’ve also had our first bona fide upset of the event, with eighth seed and American number one Mardy Fish getting beat in straight sets by the unseeded Alejandro Falla. Falla won a tough match 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 7-6 (8-6).