Tennis: World No. 1s Nadal and Pliskova hunt second-round wins

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic during their 2017 US Open Men's Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Aug 29, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Rafael Nadal and Karolina Pliskova will look to remain on cruise control as the two world No. 1s chase a place in the third round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday (Aug 31).

Pliskova, who needed just 78 minutes to breeze past Poland's Magda Linette 6-2, 6-1 in her opener, will be eager to make similarly quick work of American qualifier Nicole Gibbs.

The Czech, however, will have to be wary of the 127th ranked Gibbs, who made the third round of the Australian Open before falling to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Nadal needed a tight first set to get in gear in his opening match then raced past Serb Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, 6-2 and will be well rested for his meeting with Japan's Taro Daniel.

The 121st-ranked Daniel, who was born in the United States but lives in Spain, was involved in a five-set marathon against American Tommy Paul on Wednesday in a match that was pushed back after rain wiped out play on Tuesday.

Five-time US champion Roger Federer also survived a five-set nail-biter against hard-hitting American Frances Tiafoe and will be desperate to avoid a similar battle with veteran Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny.

Federer has won all 16 head-to-head meetings with Youzhny.

Sixth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem meets American wildcard Taylor Fritz while seventh Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, winner of three titles this year including the US Open tune-up in Cincinnati, faces Russia's Andrey Rublev.

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