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Federer and Nadal pass first French Open tests

sports Updated: May 30, 2007 09:04 IST
Federer

World number one Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal eased through their opening French Open tests on Tuesday but the United States suffered a virtual Roland Garros men's wipeout.

Federer's latest bid to add the French Open to his glittering collection of 10 Grand Slam titles got off to a winning start as American journeyman Michael Russell was brushed aside 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in a match held over from Monday.

"The conditions were tough with the wind and because of the rain over the last few days we haven't had much chance to hit balls," said Federer who now faces French wildcard Thierry Ascione.

"But I was in a comfortable position. It was a good opening match for me."

Nadal, the double defending champion, pulled off a 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Argentine teenager Juan Martin Del Potro.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, who has an unbeaten 14-0 record at Roland Garros and is bidding to become the first man to win three in a row in Paris since Bjorn Borg in 1980, surprisingly fell a break behind in the first set.

But he simply stepped up a gear and powered past an increasingly ragged Del Potro to set up a second round clash with either Flavio Cipolla of Italy or Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia.

"The first round here is always a little more pressure because you don't know how you are playing and I didn't play very well today," he said. "But the main thing is I won."

While Federer and Nadal took their expected places in the next stage, the United States suffered a nightmare first round.

Of nine players in the men's draw, eight were defeated including third and eight seeds Andy Roddick and James Blake respectively.

Only Robby Ginepri was left standing after his match against Argentina's Diego Hartfield was called off for the night with the tie level at a set apiece.

Roddick suffered his fourth first round defeat in seven trips to Paris.

Russia's Igor Andreev was the latest man to exploit the American's claycourt discomfort winning 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in a tie where he hit 66 winners to Roddick's 19.

"He hit some pretty good forehands," said Roddick. "I thought I played OK but a lot of credit goes to him."

Blake was put out by big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5.

Chilean fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez, who was runner-up to Federer at the Australian Open in January, was also a first round casualty losing 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, like Roddick also a former world number one, kept up his record of never having lost a French Open first round match in eight visits when he beat Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Hewitt, the 14th seed, will face 2004 champion Gaston Gaudio of Argentina for a place in the third round.

"I think I got into Max's head a little," said Hedwitt.

Spain's Tommy Robredo, the ninth seed and who could face Federer in the quarter-finals, beat Argentina's Sergio Roitman 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Argentina's 19th seed Guillermo Canas, playing here for the first time since serving a 15-month doping ban and who has defeated Federer twice this season, was also a first round winner.

Canas, twice a Roland Garros quarter-finalist, defeated Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia also made it safely through with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) win over gritty Frenchman Arnaud Clement while Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 17th seed and 2003 champion, saw off America's Amer Delic 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

In the women's championship, fourth seed Jelena Jankovic, sixth seed Nicole Vaidisova and 13th seed Elena Dementieva all cruised into the second round.

Serbia's Jankovic, buoyed by victory in Rome in the run-up to Roland Garros, eased past France's Stephanie Foretz 6-2, 6-2 while Czech teenager Vaidisova, a semi-finalist in 2006, saw off Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi 6-4, 6-3.

Russia's Dementieva, the runner-up to compatriot Anastasia Myskina in 2004, was also a comfortable winner beating Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-2.

Russian 11th seed Nadia Petrova, a semi-finalist in 2003 and 2005, was knocked out in the first round for the second year in succession, losing 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 to Czech qualifier Kveta Peschke.

Petrova needed treatment on a back injury at the start of the second set and her movement became more restricted as the tie went on.

The 24-year-old, who was forced to pull out of the Italian Open with the same injury, will undergo a scan before making a decision on the forthcoming grass court season.

Last year she missed Wimbledon after injuring her hip on the eve of Roland Garros.

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