Nadal sails through to second round of French Open

May 29th, 2008 - 12:31 am ICT by admin  

Paris, May 28 (DPA) Rafael Nadal started his quest for an historic fourth consecutive French Open title Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 first-round win over Thomaz Bellucci. The second seed Spanish claimed his 22nd straight match at Roland Garros, but not before putting down a first-set rebellion from the number 76 qualifier making a Grand Slam debut.

Nadal won the tight opener before finding his rhythm for a move into the second round in two hours, 34 minutes on a clear day in Paris.

“It’s always tough to win these matches,” said the Spaniard. “He came from qualifying and had won three matches in a row. I had to work hard.”

Nadal is a tempting target every time he steps onto the court on clay after losing just five times on the surface since August, 2004.

Fifth seed David Ferrer of Spain progressed to round two after defeating Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

In women’s singles, top seed Russian Maria Sharapova survived a massive scare to overpower compatriot Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 3-6, 8-6. In another Russian contest, Elena Dementieva, seeded seventh, had to sweat to put it across Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-2

Sixth seed Russian Anna Chakvetadze beat Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Ninth seed Marion Bartoli went down to Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-2.

“I’m just fed up,” said Marion.

“I’m going to turn off my mobile, turn off my TV and forget about Roland Garros. I’m going to try not to think about it.”

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