|Rafael Nadal hits a return to Nicolas Mahut during their match at the U.S. Open. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY - Defending champ Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the U.S. Open Friday, while Andy Murray rallied from two sets down to beat Dutchman Robin Haase.
The second-seeded Nadal was leading 6-2, 6-2 when France's Nicolas Mahut retired with an abdominal muscle injury in the first game of the third set at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Spaniard committed only five unforced errors and saved all four break points he faced.
Nadal next faces 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian, who upended 30th- seeded Croat Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The fourth-seeded Murray fought back to dump Haase 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4. It marked the sixth time the Scot had won a match after dropping the first two sets.
Murray will battle 25th-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the third round. Lopez advanced with a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) win over Canadian Vasek Pospisil.
Spaniard David Ferrer, Gilles Simon and Juan Martin del Potro were also second-round winners.
The fifth-seeded Ferrer crushed American James Blake, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, while 12th-seeded Frenchman Simon battled past Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-3.
Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champ is slowly returning to form after a wrist injury cost him most of the 2010 campaign. He is seeded 18th this year and followed up an easy opening-round win over Italy's Filippo Volandri with a 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 triumph over fellow Argentine Diego Junqueira.
A pair of seeded players lost in five sets on Friday. No. 14 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland fell to American Donald Young 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) and Russian Igor Kunitsyn defeated 17th-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Other second-round winners Friday included 24th-seeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela, 25th-seeded American John Isner, France's Julien Benneteau and Luxembourg's Gilles Muller.