Rafael Nadal is through to the round of 16 at the 2013 U.S. Open after defeating unseeded challenger Ivan Dodig in straight sets in the third round on Saturday inside Arthur Ashe Stadium 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, according to U.S. Open on Twitter:
Nadal will face 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber in the next round.
Dodig had no answer for Nadal on Saturday, as the 12-time Grand Slam champion was sharp in every area, finishing off Dodig in just over two hours. Rafa was strong on serve, losing just 17 total service points, stellar at the net, winning 14-of-17 net points and seeing the ball perfectly, striking 37 winners in all.
Nadal would jump out to an early lead after winning the opening set in just over 40 minutes. Though Rafa wasn't overly impressive to start the match, he was near flawless when he managed to put his first serve in play, winning 12-of-13 first-serve points in the first set.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion would only get two looks to break Dodig in the opening frame, but capitalized, breaking the Croatian midway through the set to take it 6-4, per U.S. Open on Twitter:
After picking up an early break in the second set, Nadal held serve and cruised to a two-sets-to-love lead.
Nadal's first serve percentage was much improved in the second set as he put 20 of his 24 first serves into the box. Rafa's success on serve gave him confidence and energy that he put to use in the return game late in the set to break Dodig again.
The theme of the match continued in the third and final set, where Rafa took advantage of another early break and some world-class net play to cruise to victory, per U.S. Open on Twitter:
With the win, Nadal improves to 18-0 on hard courts in 2013. He has still yet to drop a set at the U.S. Open this summer but has only lost five sets on hard courts all year long.
The No. 2 seed in the men's draw has now reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Open in each of his past seven trips to Flushing Meadows.
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