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Brilliant Nadal eases to victory over Dodig

ESPN staff
August 31, 2013
Rafael Nadal had no trouble in his third round win over Ivan Dodig © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal raced through his US Open third round match against Ivan Dodig, winning through 6-4 6-3 6-3 at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal issued his intentions early, sending a crashing forehand pass which left Dodig grounded on his stretch to return. After a brief visit from the trainer, Dodig continued but Nadal was simply in no mood to ease his punishment.

The world No. 2 advanced into a 3-1 lead, despite fleeting resistance from Dodig's serve, and comfortably put the first set to bed in the hot and humid conditions on the Arthur Ashe show court.

Nadal slowly began to improve, which spelt more trouble for Dodig at the start of the second set; another early break of serve for the Spaniard was confirmed with a routine hold.

While there was no real hint of an upset, Dodig offered trouble on Nadal's serve in several exchanges for deuce, but there lacked any real sense of a breakthrough. Even a low flying plane could not disrupt Nadal's rhythm, even if his focus was tested for a split second.

Nadal took the second set when Dodig netted his backhand and hardly looked to be moving out of third gear.

However, it was Dodig who produced arguably the shot of the match with a pinpoint winner down the line when seemingly beaten on his own baseline. It was a shot worthy of winning any game, yet unfortunately only took the opening exchange of the third set to deuce. Nadal promptly served out to lead.

Working his way to a triple break point in the fourth game, Nadal only needed one as a combination of power and precision ended with a superbly weighted drop shot for the break of serve.

Victory was completed after two hours and seven minutes on court, as Nadal clinched the win on his first match point when Dodig failed to return serve.

Elsewhere, David Ferrer saw off the challenge of Mikhail Kukushkin with a 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4 win on Grandstand and will now play Janko Tipsarevic in the fourth round after the Serb's 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 6-2 victory over Jack Sock.

Milos Raonic came from a set down to defeat Feliciano Lopez 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3 6-4 and book his spot in the fourth round.

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