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Nadal Overcomes Nalbandian; Ferrer Advances

New York, U.S.A.

Nadal © Getty ImagesRafael Nadal extended his US Open winning streak to 10 matches.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal overcame former World No. 3 David Nalbandian 7-6(5), 6-1, 7-5 on Sunday afternoon to reach the US Open fourth round.

Nalbandian earned the first break in the fifth game of the match, but Nadal prevented the Argentine from serving out the opening set at 5-4. He proceeded to clinch the tie-break and used the momentum to race through the second set in 27 minutes.

Nadal dropped serve twice in the 70-minute third set, but countered with three breaks of serve to claim the victory. He now leads Nalbandian 3-2 in the FedEx ATP Head 2 Head after losing to the Argentine in their first two meetings.

“I’m happy about almost everything today,” said the Spaniard. “I think my movements worked pretty well, and the forehand worked really well, and the backhand, too. Just when I had to win the match with the 5-3 I played a really bad game there. For the rest of the match, I’m happy about everything.”

Nalbandian, a former US Open semi-finalist, assessed: “I think I played a good first set. I had my chances. I couldn’t take it. I think Rafa played good. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes, which is normal in his game.”

The World No. 2 is now unbeaten in his past 10 matches at the year’s final major. He captured the US Open title last year with victory over Novak Djokovic in the final, completing his career Grand Slam set.

Nadal next faces Luxembourg's Gilles Muller. The 68th-ranked Muller cruised past Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 as he struck 56 winners, including 23 aces.

Muller, 28, has enjoyed past success at the US Open. He won the junior title in 2001 and made his men’s main draw debut with an upset win over Andy Roddick in 2005. On his last visit to Flushing Meadows in 2008, he qualified and reached the quarter-finals before falling to Roger Federer.

World No. 5 David Ferrer was largely untroubled in his third-round match, closing out a 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(2) win over 26th-seeded German Florian Mayer in one hour and 47 minutes.

Ferrer, who is through to the US Open fourth round for a second straight year, reached his first Grand Slam semi-final here in 2007 (l. to Djokovic). He will play American Andy Roddick for a place in the quarter-finals.

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