Nadal cruises in opening match at Cincinnati Masters

U.S. Sports Desk, Aug 15 (EFE).- Spain's Rafael Nadal continued his strong run of form in the North American hard-court season, routing Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the third round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Fresh off his victory at another ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event last week in Montreal, Nadal struck the ball cleanly and with heavy spin and depth Wednesday night against his 100th-ranked opponent, who had to qualify for the main draw.

Although the Spaniard made just 52 percent of his first serves, he dominated his service games throughout and saved the only two break points he faced.

The world No. 3, meanwhile, converted just four of the 12 break points he created but that ratio was more than good enough to advance comfortably to the third round.

The 27-year-old Spaniard said afterward that he was pleased with how he adapted to the conditions in his opening match.

"It's a little bit slower here than in Montreal. And when you have these kind of tournaments back-to-back it's not easy, but I'm very happy with the way I played this afternoon and the way that I adapted the game," he was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour's official Web site.

Next up for Nadal on Thursday evening will be Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who coasted to a 6-3, 6-2 win over American Brian Baker.

The Spaniard could square off against arch-rival Roger Federer in a much-anticipated Friday showdown if both players manage to win their third-round matches.

The 32-year old Swiss world No. 5 will take on the oldest man in the top 100, 35-year-old German Tommy Haas, on Thursday afternoon.

The Cincinnati Masters is one of the biggest hard-court events on the ATP Tour calendar and a key tune-up for the U.S. Open, which gets underway later this month.