Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray win

Updated: May 28, 2010, 8:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PARIS -- Rafael Nadal went to work early and clocked out quickly Friday.

The four-time champion lost serve only once and beat Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

[+] EnlargeRafael Nadal
AP Photo/Lionel CironneauFour-time champ Rafael Nadal lost serve only once and beat Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

"I wouldn't say this was an exceptional match," Nadal said. "It was a normal type of match."

Defending champion Roger Federer also advanced with another straight-sets victory, and Andy Murray also reached the fourth round by defeating Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

A schedule backlog caused by rain forced Nadal and others to wait until the sixth day of the tournament for their second-round matches. He took the court on a sunny, cool morning and engaged in a brisk workout.

Nadal won in 1 hour, 45 minutes. He has lost only 13 games through two rounds and next faces two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who outlasted Denis Istomin 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Hewitt improved to 30-14 in five-set matches.

"I feel like I've put myself in a position my whole career that it's taken the best players most times in a Grand Slam to beat me," Hewitt said. "Hopefully, I can give him a good match."

Playing his third-round match, the top-ranked Federer, who has yet to lose a set at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament this year, defeated qualifier Julian Reister of Germany 6-4, 6-0, 6-4.

Federer didn't face a single break point and had 34 winners. But he double-faulted on his first match point before finishing off the 165th-ranked Reister with a forehand winner.

"I haven't played top guys yet but dangerous players who are skillful on this surface," Federer said. "With my own form, I'm very happy."

Federer will next play fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Federer and Wawrinka teamed up to win the gold medal in doubles at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"He's no longer asking for tips," Federer said of Wawrinka, "which is a good sign."

Third-seeded Novak Djokovic reached the third round for the fifth straight year by defeating Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic is a two-time semifinalist in Paris but lost in the third round last year.

The 23-year-old Serb struggled on long rallies and had 24 unforced errors -- including nine double faults -- but raised his level on important points to advance after breaking Nishikori six times.

[+] EnlargeNovak Djokovic
Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic reached the third round at Roland Garros for the fifth straight year.

The 246th-seeded Nishikori is trying to rediscover his form after a right elbow injury sidelined him for about one year.

The fourth-seeded Murray posted his best result at Roland Garros last year when he reached the quarterfinals. He'll next play Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who eliminated No. 17 John Isner of the United States 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

Murray closed out the match in 2 hours, 33 minutes by converting his match point with a drop shot.

Robby Ginepri reached the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time in two years, but fellow American Mardy Fish lost.

The unseeded Ginepri rallied past Potito Starace 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Fish lost to Ivan Ljubicic 6-2, 6-7 (8), 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 in a second-round marathon that took more than 4½ hours to complete over two days.

No. 9 David Ferrer led 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 when Xavier Malisse retired. No. 7 Fernando Verdasco, No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ninth-seeded David Ferrer, 10th-seeded Marin Cilic, No. 16 Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 19 Nicolas Almagro, No. 22 Jurgen Melzer, No. 24 Thomaz Bellucci, No. 30 Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 31 Victor Hanescu also advanced.

Fifth-seeded Robin Soderling beat No. 29 Albert Montanes 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. ousted 12th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Tsonga was the only man from France to reach the third round this year, matching the country's worst showing at the tournament since it began allowing foreigners to enter in 1925.

There were 19 Frenchmen in the field.

"What do I feel about it? Well, it's sad," Tsonga said.

Nadal is attempting to become the second man to win five French Open titles; Bjorn Borg holds the record of six.

After dropping six games against an 18-year-old French wild-card entry in the first round, Nadal complained that he had played badly.

And Friday?

"I improved a little bit. I played a little bit better. But sure, not perfect, no?" Nadal said. "That's always important -- to play a little bit better every day, no?"

His performance was quite clean against fellow left-hander Zeballos. Nadal made a mere 12 unforced errors and lost serve only once, in the seventh game of the third set. He immediately broke back and then served out the match.

The victory kept Nadal unbeaten on clay in tour matches in 2010 -- 17-0, including Masters Series titles at Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid. Nadal's career record at the French Open stands at 33-1.

"I don't know if I'm playing my best tennis today," Nadal said, "but I think I have almost reached this level for several months."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.