Nadal aims to fill his boots against qualifier

Paris: Spanish sporting prowess will be on full display Saturday but while Barcelona are bidding for Champions League glory, Rafael Nadal will just be seeking an easy passage to the French Open last 16 with no high drama.

In-form Novak Djokovic will also be keen to avoid a kick in the teeth when his match with tough Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro is completed with honours even at 6-3 3-6.

Champion and world number one Nadal stuttered through his first five-set match at Roland Garros in a first-round win over John Isner which he likened to a "penalty shootout," before failing to find his best form in a victory over Pablo Andujar.

The third round has served up an intriguing clash with Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic, a pushover on paper but on the Paris clay he has downed Uruguay`s world number 52 Pablo Cuevas and twice Paris semi-finalist Nikolay Davydenko.

Big Real Madrid fan Nadal, bidding for a sixth title here in seven years, will expect to wrap up victory long before he wills on Manchester United in the soccer final but last year`s runner-up Robin Soderling may struggle as he is last on court.

The Swede faces unseeded but in-form Argentine Leonardo Mayer after fourth seed Andy Murray plays German underdog Michael Berrer.

Roger Federer eased through to the last-16 matchup with fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka Sunday with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 hammering of Janko Tipsarevic Friday.

"I`m at peace with my game right now, I`m physically fine," the 2009 winner told reporters. "But it is still early in the tournament."

With the women`s draw blown apart by top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters crashing out, fourth seed Victoria Azarenka has a real chance of her first grand slam trophy and meets Italy`s 30th seed Roberta Vinci first up on centre court.

Fellow title hopeful Maria Sharapova takes on Chan Yung-jan aiming to kick the Taiwanese and her shaky form from the last round into touch.

Bureau Report

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