French Open

Nadal stumbles into 3rd round

2013-05-31 14:22
Rafa Nadal (AFP)

Paris - Defending champion Rafael Nadal suffered another false start at the French Open in the Paris chill on Friday before moving into the third round.

The Spanish third seed, chasing an unprecedented eighth Roland Garros title, saw off Slovakia's Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to record his 54th win in 55 matches at the tournament.

For the second round in succession, the 26-year-old dropped the first set as he struggled in the cold, heavy conditions where the temperature just nudged over the 12-degree mark.

However, just like in his opening clash against Germany's Daniel Brands, the 11-time major winner eventually found the direction on his serve and familiar pin-point power on his groundstrokes to see off Klizan, the world number 35, and a fellow left-hander.

There were still bumps along the way, with Nadal dropping serve twice in the fourth set, the second time in the seventh game as he served for the match.

Nadal goes on to face Italian 27th seed Fabio Fognini for a place in the last 16.

The Italian had reached the third round by knocking out Lukas Rosol, the Czech who shocked Nadal at Wimbledon last year.

"I was up against a very tough opponent today who was very aggressive," said Nadal.

"I was too defensive at the start but I improved and I am happy with the way I finished.

"These conditions are not easy to play in. I hope to see the sun come back soon."

Nadal's second round match was one of nine not completed on Thursday because of rain.

French seventh seed Richard Gasquet reached the third round for the third successive year with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Polish qualifer Michal Przysiezny, the world number 133.

Gasquet will face face Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko, a semi-finalist on 2005 and 2007, for a last-16 place.

Davydenko, 31, and a former world number three, defeated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.

"I'm ready for this third round," said Gasquet. "It's not going to be an easy match."

German 12th seed Tommy Haas ended the run of American qualifier Jack Sock, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 7-5.

Haas, playing in his 52nd Grand Slam event, is the first 35-year-old to reach the third round in Paris since Jonas Bjorkman in 2007.

Haas will face another American in the fourth round -- either John Isner or Ryan Harrison.

Poland's Jerzy Janowicz, the 21st seed, went into the third round with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Robin Haase.

Russian 29th seed Mikhail Youzhny beat Argentina's Federico Del Bonis 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4.

Roger Federer, the 2009 champion, plays his third round match against France's Julien Benneteau, having enjoyed a trouble-free first two rounds, beating two qualifiers for the loss of just 11 games.

But Benneteau defeated the 31-year-old Swiss in Rotterdam earlier this year and came within two points of knocking him out at Wimbledon in 2012 after taking the opening two sets.

Federer has won 56 career matches at Roland Garros to stand just two behind the record of Guillermo Vilas and Nicola Pietrangeli.

He also has 898 wins on the men's tour, 25 short of joining Vilas in third spot in the all-time list headed by Jimmy Connors on a seemingly unsurpassable 1,243 ahead of Ivan Lendl on 1,071.

Elsewhere Friday, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, regarded as France's best hope of a first men's champion since Yannick Noah in 1983, faces countryman Jeremy Chardy for a place in the last 16.

Fourth seed David Ferrer tackles fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Read more on:    french open  |  rafa nadal  |  tennis

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