Rafael Nadal reached the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, defeating three-time Melbourne Park semifinalist Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. A former world number two, Haas has slipped down the ranking after missing much of the past two seasons through injury, but the German remains a dangerous customer on his day. The current world 190 served eight aces and broke Nadal twice to make the match mildly competitive but Haas, playing just his 14th tournament since returning to action at Roland Garros last year and who withdrew injured from the Brisbane International earlier this month, was never likely to hamper the Spaniard for long.
There has been concern that Nadal's heavily strapped knee might do so on its own after he complained of searing pain before his opening match, but the world number two moved well enough against Haas. "I don't know if it was a perfect match, but I can say that started the match fantastically, especially the first seven games," Nadal said, adding that Haas' first serve had been difficult to read. "I've won two games with good sensations but we are only in the first week. Every game will be difficult from here and the next one will be no different."
Nadal will play unseeded Slovakian Lukas Lacko in round three, only the second time the world number 119 has progressed so far at a Grand Slam.
Feliciano López, Nicolás Almagro and Anabel Medina also won their matches on a better day for the Armada, which lost just one player, Pere Riba, who was forced to retire from his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
López, the 18th seed, required just three sets to see off Italy's Flavio Cipolla while Almagro, the third highest-ranked Spaniard at number 10, recovered from 2-1 down to beat Grigor Dimitrov in five. Almagro sealed the match in some style, taking the last two sets for the loss of just four games. López and Almagro face stiff challenges in round three, against John Isner (16) and Stanislas Wawrinka (21) respectively.
Medina, who thrashed Olga Govortsova 6-1, 6-0, could not have a trickier passage to a potential fourth-round clash with Kim Clijsters or Daniela Hantuchova. Standing in her way is reigning Roland Garros champion and runner-up in Melbourne last season, Na Li.