Madrid, Spain – Seeking a third straight title on his beloved clay, Rafael Nadal was an easy second-round winner Wednesday at the $4 million Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 Masters event.
The second-seeded former No. 1 blew past former top-five star Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2 in 80 minutes on the unusual blue clay surface at Madrid's Magic Box. Nadal popped six aces and did not allow even one break-point chance against his overmatched Russian counterpart on Day 4.
The two-time Madrid champion and Spanish hero Nadal lost to Serbian star Novak Djokovic in last year's marquee finale here.
Nadal holds the record with 20 Masters titles, including one in Monte Carlo last month. He titled in Madrid in 2005 and 2010 and was the runner-up here last year and in 2009.
Up next for Nadal will be fellow Spanish lefthander Fernando Verdasco.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga handled American wild card Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) and fifth-seeded Spanish stalwart David Ferrer topped Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Ferrer was the clay-court Barcelona runner-up to his compatriot Nadal just two weeks ago.
Last week's Estoril titlist Juan Martin del Potro continued his winning ways with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) victory over game former top-10 Russian Mikhail Youzhny. The 10th-seeded former U.S. Open champion del Potro will face capable Croat Marin Cilic on Thursday.
Seventh-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic squeaked out a 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 victory over Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis. Tipsarevic smacked 13 aces in the 2-hour, 35-minute affair.
Eighth-seeded American John Isner was sent packing by the resurgent Cilic, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3), while 11th-seeded Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro dismissed fellow countryman Marcel Granollers 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Almagro will tangle with another fellow Spaniard in Ferrer on Thursday.
In other action involving seeds, No. 12 Frenchman Gael Monfils defeated Russian qualifier Igor Andreev 6-3, 1-0, retired; No. 14 Frenchman Richard Gasquet grounded Serb Viktor Troicki, 7-5, 6-3; a No. 15 Verdasco overcame Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4; and No. 16 Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov cooled off last week's surprise Belgrade champion Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
One other second-round result saw Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka douse Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 6-4. Wawrinka is rewarded with a Thursday third-round match against the top-ranked and defending Madrid champion Djokovic.
The 2012 Madrid Open titlist will earn $770,000.