Nadal sets another Paris record with 29th straight win

May 25th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael Nadal Paris, May 25 (DPA) Rafael Nadal began his campaign for a record fifth straight French Open title with a smooth 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 demolition of Brazilian qualifier Marcos Daniel in the opening round Monday.
Nadal improved his record at the event to 29-0, equalling Chris Evert’s all-time record of consecutive match wins between 1974 and 1981.

The formidable Spanish clay machine, who tuned up for his run at history with Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome titles plus a Madrid final against Federer, has never been taken to a fifth set in Paris.

Over the course of his success the 22-year-old has lost only seven sets - and only one in the last two years - in the 2007 final against Federer.

Nadal showed he’s human by trailing 1-3 in the second set against his opponent ranked 96th, but erased the deficit nicely on the way to claiming the second set.

In the third, Nadal started with a break, but Daniel hardly rolled over, instead recovering from a 2-5 deficit with a love game, before Nadal broke back to end it after just over an hour and a quarter.

The Spaniard produced seven breaks of serve, 36 winners and 32 unforced errors.

Two Russians also went through, with tenth seed Nikolay Davydenko producing an effortless 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Austrian Stefan Koubek and Mikhail Youzhny putting out Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, 6-4.

Women’s top seed Dinara Safina headed for the practise court to work up after humiliating Briton Anne Keothavong 6-0, 6-0 in a thundering start.

“I’m going to go and hit some balls,” said the Russian world number one. “There were just a couple of things that my coach was maybe not happy about.

“Even in 6-0, 6-0 there are things to improve in the next match.”

The romp took 61 minutes with Safina finally prevailing on a fifth match point over the 48th-ranked Keothavong, who last week in Warsaw became the first British woman since 1983 to reach the semi-finals in a WTA tournament.

Safina showed why she went into the match with a 14-1 record on clay for the best winning percentage among main draw players. The Russian has reached the final at five of eight events this year with titles in Rome and Madrid.

“I came on the court expecting a good match and tough one because she had been playing good in Warsaw,” said the winner. When I started playing I was feeling good. I played a solid match.”

“When I shook her hand she said ‘At least you could give me one game.’ I could imagine it’s not nice to feel like that on the court, but I was just so into myself.”

Venus Williams, the third-seeded 2002 semi-finalist who has never duplicated that effort, needed the full distance to beat fellow- American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

The challenger was treated on her right wrist after just three games but showed full strength in the struggle.

China’s 15th seed Zheng Jie beat Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-1, 6-3.

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