[QODLink]
Sport
Safina strolls into third round
Straight sets victory for the top seed as Murray, Nadal and Ivanovic also advance.
Last Modified: 27 May 2009 18:24 GMT

Easy ride so far for Safina [GALLO/GETTY]
Top-seeded Dinara Safina cruised past Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the French Open in Paris.

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic also overpowered Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-1, 6-2.

The eighth-seeded Serb struggled early in her opening match, but she looked to be back to her best on centre court, breaking the 32-year-old Tanasugarn twice in the first set and three times in the second.

In the men's round, Scotland's Andy Murray came from 5-1 down in the third set to advance to the third round, beating Italy's Potito Starace.

Nadal, who is trying to become the first player to win five straight French Open titles, stretched his French Open record to 30-0 by beating Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

The top-seeded Spaniard has never lost at Roland Garros, and his 30th straight win on the tournament's red clay gives him the record for most consecutive wins.

Easy win

The top-seeded Safina took a 5-0 lead to open the match, stretching her streak to 17 straight games after winning 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.

"Pretty good start for the tournament," said Safina, who lost in the Australian Open final and was the runner-up at Roland Garros last year.

"I just played a good game today, good enough to win.''

Diatchenko, an 18-year-old Russian qualifier ranked 153rd, broke Safina once in the second set but failed to convert her only other chance in the first.

"I felt so bad because I didn't play my best game today," Diatchenko said.

"She's in good form. Every ball she put close to the line."

On the men's side, third-seeded Andy Murray survived a brief scare before beating Potito Starace of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

The Briton was trailing 5-2 in the third set, but he broke Starace three straight times to win.

Murray also reached the third round at Roland Garros last year but lost to Nicolas Almagro in four sets.

In his only other appearance at the French Open in 2006, he lost in the first round.

Santoro waves goodbye [AFP]
Santoro swansong

Twelfth seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile also advanced, but French veteran
Fabrice Santoro played his last match at Roland Garros.

Santoro, who has made a record 67 Grand Slam appearances, lost in the first round of this year's French Open - his record-tying 20th - to Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

"Twenty years. That counts for something in a lifetime," Santoro said.

"It has been a long road, a fantastic career. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot."

Santoro and Rochus started their match on Tuesday, but the game was suspended by darkness with the Belgian leading 5-3 in the fourth set.

The pair came back out onto the court after Safina's win and played only eight minutes.

"I'm saying to myself that the story is over, that a page is being turned,'' Santoro said.

"I will no longer be on court next year. But I think that it is time to go.''

Maria Sharapova struggled again in her Grand Slam tournament comeback needing three sets and a few extra games to reach the third round with a 6-2, 1-6, 8-6 victory over 11th-seeded Nadia Petrova.

No. 7 Gilles Simon of France, No. 8 Fernando Verdasco of Spain, No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile and No. 13 Marin Cilic of Croatia also advanced.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list