Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nadal scampers past opening rival

Updated May 30, 2012 06:51:53

Rafael Nadal, bidding for a record seventh Roland Garros crown, sped into the second round at the French Open with a straight sets win over Italian Simone Bolelli - but stressed it was too early to think about surpassing Swedish legend Bjorn Borg.

Nadal and Borg have both lifted six titles in Paris but aged just 25, clay king Nadal, one of just seven men to lift all four majors, is odds on to shatter the record and take sole ownership of the mark.

He survived a momentary second set blip to sweep past his 111th-ranked rival 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in just under three hours and set up a meeting with Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who whipped Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

Despite the wide margin of his win Nadal, whose record in Paris is now 46-1, insisted he had had to battle some early butterflies.

"All matches are always difficult - the more so here, as you are a bit more nervous. It's not easy to get your bearings right off as the court is big and it's difficult out there," said the Mallorcan, who is looking to join Borg and Rod Laver on 11 grand slam singles titles.

"But I'm always happy to play here - it's an incredible feeling."

Also moving through among the men was British fourth seed Andy Murray, who crushed Japan's Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 7-5, 6-0.

Likewise was Murray's potential quarter-final opponent, Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer, who dismissed Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

The biggest casualty of the day was 16th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov who went down to fellow Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3 in a match resuming from the second day.

Locals Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau both advanced, as did Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who ousted big-serving American Sam Querrey 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Other seeds Nicolas Almagro (12), Juan Monaco (13), Mikhail Youzhny (27) and Florian Mayer (32) also all progressed.


Tags: tennis, sport, france

First posted May 30, 2012 06:35:23

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