Nadal gifted win, Clijsters off to flier

Written by: Pti
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Melbourne, Jan 18 (AFP) Top seed Rafael Nadal was handedan easy win at the Australian Open today as Kim Clijstershumiliated Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0 and former number one AnaIvanovic was another high-profile casualty.

Nadal, the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion,was leading 6-0, 5-0 when Brazilian journeyman Marcos Danielthrew in the towel after being troubled by a left kneeproblem.

Andy Murray went through in similar circumstances whenSlovakia''s Karol Beck retired with a shoulder problem whiletrailing 6-3, 6-1, 4-2, during an action-packed day two.

Swedish fourth seed Robin Soderling beat Italy''s PotitoStarace in straight sets and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martindel Potro enjoyed a successful return to Grand Slam tennisafter being injured for most of last year.

Nadal will play American qualifier Ryan Sweeting next ashe targets the "Rafa Slam" -- the first time one man has heldall four major titles since Rod Laver in 1969.

The Spaniard, forced out of last year''s quarter-finalagainst Murray with a knee injury, said the disconsolateDaniel would be feeling "terrible".

"It''s a terrible feeling to pull out of a match with aninjury and I wish him all the best and a fast recovery," saidNadal. "If you are feeling bad you should not go on and it''sbest for the recovery."

In the women''s draw, Belgium''s Clijsters steamrolled thedistraught Safina in just 44 minutes for her fourth whitewashat the tournament, but the first against illustriousopposition.

Injury-hit Safina, a former world number one, was abeaten finalist just two years ago and she was againinconsolable as she left Rod Laver Arena, burying her head inher hands as she faced the media.

"It was very tough," Safina said.

Serbia''s Ivanovic, another former number one and the 2008French Open champion, continued her miserable Grand Slam formwith a quick exit at the hands of 49th-ranked RussianEkaterina Makarova.

The popular brunette fell in round two at last year''sAustralian and French Opens, before being humbled in her firstmatch at Wimbledon and reaching the US Open''s fourth round.

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