Nadal on the mend as Spaniard puts knee troubles behind to dump out Haas
Rafael Nadal followed rival Roger Federer into the third round with an impressive 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of German veteran Tommy Haas.
Haas, 33 and twice a semi-finalist in Melbourne, has seen his career derailed by injury in recent years, but showed flashes of the play which saw him rise to number two in the rankings 10 years ago.
Two early breaks saw world No 2 Nadal surge ahead and although Haas clawed one back, the Spaniard overcame some nervy moments to take the opening set in 54 minutes.
Reaching out: Rafael Nadal had no problems booking his place in the third round despite his heavily taped up knee
The second was straightforward with breaks at the start and the end, but Haas put up stronger resistance in the third by claiming a 3-1 lead.
Nadal hit back to level at 3-3 and then claimed the match when Haas missed a forehand at break point in the 10th game.
Afterwards, Nadal was quick to pay tribute to his opponent, saying: 'He's a fantastic player. He's had a lot of injuries the last couple of years but it's always great to play Tommy.
No return: German Tommy Haas had no answers to match an impressive Nadal
'He's thinking about retiring but I thought he played well this afternoon.'
Nadal has had his own injury worries leading into the season's first grand slam, injuring his right knee while sitting on a chair on Sunday.
Marching on: Nadal is congratulated by Haas as the Spaniard looks forward to the third round in Melbourne
But although it was again heavily taped, the Mallorcan revealed the joint is on the mend.
'It is much better and I am so happy the knee is improving and I am able to play without pain,' he said.