Nadal and Federer advance

Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return against Jared Donaldson of the US at the Shanghai Masters Tennis Tournament in Shanghai Wednesday. — AFP

SHANHAI — Rafael Nadal made light work of the unseeded American Jared Donaldson to sprint into the third round of the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.

The world No. 1, fresh from winning the China Open and the US Open, ruthlessly disposed of the world-ranked 56 Donaldson, 6-2, 6-1 in just 54 minutes.

Roger Federer, meanwhile, struggled past Argentine Diego SchwartzmanSwiss legend Roger Federer was far from his best against Schwartzman and next faces another potential banana skin in Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov.

There were 24 places in the rankings between No. 2 Federer and Schwartzman and a significant height difference — Federer towering over the 170cm (five foot seven inch) Argentine.

But Schwartzman cut the 185cm Federer down to size and an unusually error-strewn performance from Federer was summed up when he squandered an easy backhand volley at the net to go to the first-set tie-break, which the Swiss eventually won 7-4.

Still Schwartzman refused to go quietly in the second set, before Federer went through 7-6, 6-4.

Earlier, Rising star Alexander Zverev strolled into the third round after Britain’s Aljaz Bedene retired hurt.

The unseeded Bedene was losing 4-0 in the first set when he called it quits because of a leg injury after playing just 12 minutes.

The 20-year-old Zverev joins sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

But the Bulgarian had a scare before pulling through 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) against the American Ryan Harrison.

Venus eclipsed

Venus Williams suffered a shock exit in the second round of the WTA Hong Kong Open Wednesday, comprehensively beaten 7-5, 6-2 by teenager Naomi Osaka.

Earlier, the seventh seed Daria Gavrilova battled into the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 win over American Shelby Rogers.

Sharapova triumphs

Maria Sharapova made an impressive start to the Tianjin Open Wednesday, beating Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.

Seeded ninth, Begu loomed as a tricky first-round opponent for Sharapova, but the former world number one from Russia swept to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

She will next play Magda Linette of Poland or the Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko, both unseeded.

Currently ranked 86th after recently returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova was granted a wildcard to play in the Chinese event.

The 30-year-old, who returned to tennis in April after serving a suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium, has yet to win a tournament since returning to the sport.

The five-time Grand Slam winner exited the China Open last week in the third round at the hands of Romania’s Simona Halep, the newly crowned world number one.

But Sharapova had no such trouble against Begu, seeing off the 57th-ranked Romanian in 82 minutes in their first-round encounter. — Agencies