Nadal advances, Date stuns Safina
Wed, 26 May 2010
PARIS — Rafael Nadal returned to his favourite venue in tennis and resumed his winning ways with a first-round schooling of teenaged Frenchman Gianni Mina 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 at the French Open yesterday. The match was the first for Nadal at Roland Garros — scene of four titles in four years — since his upset loss in the 2009 fourth round to Robin Soderling. Nadal improved his impeccable record on Paris clay to 32-1 as he swept the 18-year-old, ranked 655 and youngest player in the men’s draw.
The former junior No 1 earlier this year showed poise in front of a home crowd as he inevitably bowed to Spain’s king of clay, winner of all three major lead-in event this spring. Nadal broke six times while fending off all nine of the break points against him. Second seed Nadal paced compatriots David Ferrer, 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and seventh seed Fernando Verdasco to victories. Ninth seed David Ferrer dispatched David Guez of France 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 while Ferrero, the number 16, was equally harsh with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
Verdasco, loser at the weekend in the Nice final, rebounded from that loss to defeat Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Sixth seed Andy Roddick earned a long-odds opening win after the American shrugged off the inconvenience to outlast Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in nearly three and a half hours. Roddick relied on his big serve, firing 19 aces but broke Nieminen on only four of 11 occasions. “There was a lot of ugliness out there today. But, you know, at the end of it, I get to play again,” said Roddick. “You go into a day hoping to get through a day, and I got through today.”
Evergreen Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm deepened the gloom for injury-plagued former finalist Dinara Safina as the 39-year-old dismissed the ninth seed 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. The first-round embarrassment was the first for Russia’s Safin since her debut in 2003 at Roland Garros. The loss leaves Safin, losing finalist a year ago to fellow opening-round victim Svetlana Kuznetsova, with a 4-11 mark on clay and little confidence in her game after months of back injury dramas.
Safina has lost three major finals in two seasons, Roland Garros last year and the year before plus the 2009 US Open. Date Krumm, who turns 40 in September, quit the game in the last decade, making a return in 2008. The victory was her first at a Grand Slam during part two of her career. Safina was troubled by 17 double-faults and 38 unforced errors in the loss, finding only a dozen winners. Date Krumm struck a massive 63 errors in a match whose final set last an hour, with the veteran taking treatment on court on her leg.
Four-time winner Justine Henin made a nostalgic return to Paris for the first time since the 2007 title, opening her campaign 6-4, 6-3 over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Henin, who quit the game in 2008 for more than a year before rediscovering her motivation to play, claimed her 22nd consecutive victory at Roland Garros in 90 minutes. “This morning, when I woke up and before walking on the court, I didn’t know really what to expect and how I was going to deal with my emotions,” said the winner. French 13th seed Marion Bartoli beat Maria Elena Camerina of Italy 6-2, 6-3, while 16th seed Yanina Wickmayer ousted Czech Sandra Zahlavova 6-1, 6-1.
Other results: Men 1st round: Blaz Kavcic (SLO) bt Eduardo Schwank (ARG) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 4-0 — retired; Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) bt Daniel Köllerer (AUT) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; Grega Zemlja (SLO) bt Juan Monaco (ARG x26) 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3; Jurgen Melzer (AUT x22) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 7-5, 6-2, 6-4; Nicolas Mahut (FRA) bt Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4;Pere Riba (ESP) bt Marc Gicquel (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).
Potito Starace (ITA) bt Illya Marchenko (UKR) 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; Robby Ginepri (USA) bt Sam Querrey (USA x18) 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-2; Florent Serra (FRA) bt Michael Russell (USA) 6-4, 6-0, 6-1; Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x30) bt Karol Beck (SVK) 7-6 (9/7), 6-1, 6-1.
Women 1st round: Jill Craybas (USA) bt Katie O’Brien (GBR) 6-0, 4-6, 6-2; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x29) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4, 6-2; Shahar Peer (ISR x18) bt Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) 6-1, 6-4; Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) bt Vania King (USA) 6-2, 6-2; Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) bt Ayumi Morita (JPN) 6-1, 6-4;.
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) bt Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-2; Daniela Hantuchova (SVK x23) bt Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 6-1, 6-1; Olga Govortsova (BLR) bt Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 7-6 (11/9), 6-1; Jarmila Groth (AUS) bt Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 6-2, 6-3; Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 6-3, 6-2; Vera Zvonareva (RUS x21) bt Alberta Brianti (ITA) 6-3, 6-1.
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