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Page last updated at 20:33 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 21:33 UK

Nadal on course after solid win

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Nadal has finished runner-up at Wimbledon for the last two years

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Second seed Rafael Nadal kept his Wimbledon campaign on track with victory over German veteran Nicolas Kiefer in the third round.

The French Open champion, seeking a first title at the All England Club, was pushed hard in the first set before coming through 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 6-3.

In the last 16 he will face Mikhail Youzhny, who beat Radek Stepanek.

Britain's Andy Murray is a potential quarter-final opponent for the brilliant Spaniard.

Kiefer, 30, provided a stern test for the world number two early on, serving well and forcing a tie-break before Nadal stepped up a gear on his fearsome forehand.

The German struggled to keep pace after that and he handed over a break at the start of the second set with two forehand errors.

Nadal, 22, found the form that took him to his first grass-court title at Queen's two weeks ago as he powered on.

Kiefer's only hope was the gathering darkness but, despite dropping serve late on, the Spaniard was not about to be held up overnight and won in two hours 21 minutes.

At the end of the day, I do what I love, what I enjoy, and that's the most important thing

Rainer Schuettler

"Kiefer is a difficult opponent on every surface but especially here on a faster surface," Nadal told BBC Sport.

"He's an aggressive player with a good serve, good volleys, but I played a very good tie-break and then played well after that."

On another late evening finish in SW19, Croatia's Marin Cilic beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 7-6 (8-6) on Court 11, with the match finishing at 2125 BST.

And at the same time there was even more drama on Court Two, where Radek Stepanek fell heavily when two points from defeat against Mikhail Youzhny and required treatment.

Despite the near total darkness, play resumed to allow Youzhny to wrap up a 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory at 2130 BST.

Janko Tipsarevic continued his fine form with a straight-sets victory over 25th seed Dmitry Tursunov.

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The unseeded Serb who beat Andy Roddick in the second round, won 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach the last 16.

Fierce service games led to tie-breaks in the first two sets, and a Tursunov double fault helped Tipsarevic win the opener on Court Two.

An ace sealed the second and Tipsarevic held off a Tursunov fightback to take the third with another ace - his 13th.

Tipsarevic, 24, said: "I am proud of myself because I managed to do something which I usually don't, which is beat a big name and then continue playing with the same intensity and have comfortable win in the next round."

The world number 40 now faces Germany's Rainer Schuettler, who beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-2 6-3 6-4.

Schuettler, 32, once ranked as high as world number five but currently down at 94, is the oldest man left in the draw.

An Australian Open finalist in 2003, he beat ninth seed James Blake in five sets to reach the third round and has now matched his best run at Wimbledon five years ago.

Asked if he had considering retirement following his fall down the rankings due to injury and illness, Schuettler said: "Yes, a couple of times.

"I had glandular fever and because I'm was desperate to play again, I didn't give myself time to recover.

"There were times when I really thought maybe I should look for something else. But, at the end of the day, I do what I love, what I enjoy, and that's the most important thing."

Arnaud Clement triumphed in another battle between unseeded players, with the Frenchman beating Austria's Jurgen Melzer 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.


see also
Kiefer v Nadal as it happened
28 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
28 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Murray powers into fourth round
28 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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