21 Jan 2011

Nadal, Soderling through to third round

5:06 am on 21 January 2011

The world tennis number one Rafael Nadal strolled through his 23rd consecutive grand slam win as Robin Soderling underlined his place as a genuine threat to the top seed's claims on the Australian Open.

The Spaniard swept past American qualifier Ryan Sweeting in three sets in their second round match at Melbourne Park but the fourth seed Soderling was equally impressive in his whitewash of Gilles Muller to take his own streak to 16 straight sets.

The Swede is shaping as a semi-final hurdle in Nadal's bid to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to own all grand slam titles at the same time.

He plays Jan Hernych in the third round after the Czech qualifier beat the 30th seed Thomas Belluci in five sets.

Nadal will play the 18-year-old Australian wildcard Bernard Tomic but Lleyton Hewitt's first round conqueror David Nalbandian pulled out ill from of his second round match trailing the Lithuanian world No.95 Richard Berankis 6-1 6-0 2-0.

Others to progress in the men's draw include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Cilic and the Canadian Milos Raonic - who beat the 22nd seed Michael Llodra 7-6(3) 6-3 7-6(4) in the day's biggest upset.