Nadal shrugs off injury fear to power past lame Youzhny

What initially appeared to be an injury that might force Rafael Nadal out of the Championships had by Monday night turned into the lightest of concerns for the No 2 seed.

The Spaniard winced in pain after chasing down a Mikhail Youzhny shot during the second game of his fourth-round match on Court One.

Rafael Nadal

Power play: Rafael Nadal of celebrates his fourth round victory over Mikhail Youzhny today

He required eight-and-a-half minutes of care on the back of his knee from ATP trainer Michal Novotny and advice from doctor Ian McCurdy before continuing.

The treatment delayed the match but thankfully did not slow Nadal, who cruised past an opponent whose heart seemed not to be in the match.

Too often in a career that ought to have yielded more titles, Youzhny has lacked the stomach for a fight. Strangely, for a player who has dismantled Nadal at times in the past, that was the case again. Nadal was barely tested.

Whatever stabs of pain he felt behind his right knee were allowed to subside and he raced away to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory that would be falsely described as a contest.

After being checked out afterwards, the Spaniard pronounced himself unworried about the injury.

Rafael Nadal

Worry: Nadal faced an early injury scare when he was forced to have treatment on his right knee, but recovered admirably.

Nadal said: 'I was a little bit scared because I felt something. A crack, something a little behind the knee. I never thought about pulling out, though, and it's nothing very important. Right now I am feeling better. Tomorrow we will see how I wake up. But hopefully I'm going to be fine.'

The world No 2 was in celebratory mood yesterday following Spain's European Championship triumph, which he had watched in his rented Wimbledon house with his team and fellow player Feliciano Lopez, who also made it through to the quarter-finals.

Nadal sent a congratulatory text to Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas, but was coy about his chances of making it a Euro 2008-Wimbledon double.

He added: 'We have the first thing but the second is going to be difficult.'

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