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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 09:19 GMT
Nadal survives early Simon scare
Rafael Nadal
Nadal took a long time to get going against Simon
World number two Rafael Nadal survived a testing first set before beating France's Gilles Simon to reach round four of the Australian Open.

The Spaniard faced six set points in a high-quality opener of brutal hitting, but held on and went on to dominate in a 7-5 6-2 6-3 victory.

Nadal will play another Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the last 16.

Fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko had a comfortable 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel.

The Russian had to overcome a knee injury that required treatment after a fall.

Davydenko will next meet compatriot Mikhail Youzhny, who had an impressive 6-2 6-4 6-2 win over Ivo Karlovic.

I started the match without a very good tactic

Rafael Nadal

It was a good day for the French contingent as sixth seed Richard Gasquet finally overcame resistant Russian Igor Andreev 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4, sealing victory with his 10th ace of the match.

Unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his good run with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 defeat of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and meets Gasquet next.

And 23rd seed Paul-Henri Mathieu set up a meeting with Nadal after coming through a five-set battle with Austrian Stefan Koubek 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-5 8-6.

Nadal admitted he had to switch up his tactics against Simon after the French 28th seed dominated the first set.


"Normally I start very hard, but today I really don't know. I started the match without a very good tactic," said the Spaniard.

"I started the match watching my rival, not worried about playing my game. I knew I was not doing the things I would like to do because I didn't play aggressively.

"I knew I would have to change and start to play my forehand and when I did that, the match changed a lot."

Davydenko was happy enough as he continued his low-key but efficient progress through the draw.

"I was much better today, maybe because he was a different kind of player, he played from the baseline rather than serve-volley," said Davydenko.

"We had longer rallies and I got more into the game and you feel more confident of playing better."

Looking ahead to the clash with Youzhny, he added: "It's much better for me to play Youzhny, because with Karlovic you never know what will happen with his big service, you wait for a tiebreaker and one mistake on my side can lose the set.

"I have a chance against Youzhny, playing from the baseline like today and controlling the ball like I did against Gicquel."

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