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FedExpress on course

Defending champion Roger Federer overcame a sloppy first set and two rain breaks to reach the French Open third round on Wednesday with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4 win over Colombia's Alejandro Falla.

sports Updated: May 27, 2010 00:56 IST

Defending champion Roger Federer overcame a sloppy first set and two rain breaks to reach the French Open third round on Wednesday with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4 win over Colombia's Alejandro Falla.
Top seed Federer will tackle either Belgium's Olivier Rochus or German qualifier Julian Reister.
Federer went into his match buoyed by having already defeated world number 70 Falla twice without dropping a set, including in the second round of Roland Garros in 2006.
But he struggled throughout the opening set, having to fend off five break points before he was finally broken by the Colombian left-hander in the 11th game.
There was no pushing the panic button, however, as the Swiss, unusually bedevilled by an embarrassing 21 unforced errors in the first set, hit back immediately before sweeping through the tie-break.
Falla, who has led Colombia into the Davis Cup World Group play-offs for the first time this year, sensed his chance had gone and either side of a brief rain interruption he slipped two breaks down to trail 4-1 in the second set.
Federer was in complete control at this stage, slashing his error count and taking the second set 6-2.
Another hour was lost to rain after Falla had held to lead 1-0 in the third.
But the world number one quickly found his rhythm on the resumption, stretching to a 3-1 lead before comfortably going on to wrap up the tie after two hours of action.

Venus roars into third round
Venus Williams took another step towards her first French Open title with a routine 6-2 6-4 victory over Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Wearing an eye-catching black lace corset-style outfit, the second seed bossed most of the rallies as a stiff breeze lashed an overcast Court Philippe Chatrier, coming through in an hour and 35 minutes.
Santonja, who has an unusual double-handed grip on both wings, extended the American with some deft groundstrokes before Williams broke decisively in game seven of the second set, sealing the win when a hapless Santonja ballooned a return long.
She next faces Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova or Varvara Lepchenko of the United States in the third round.

Clinical play by Soderling
Robin Soderling, the 2009 runner-up, took just 71 minutes and surrendered a meagre two games as he swept aside hapless American Taylor Dent on Wednesday to reach the French Open last 32.
The Swedish fifth seed, who famously handed Rafael Nadal a first career defeat here last year, beat Dent 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 and will next face Spain's Albert Montanes.

Win fails to please Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lashed out Wednesday at French Open organizers for turning down his schedule requests. The 8th-seeded Tsonga, reached the third round by defeating Josselin Ouanna 6-0, 6-1, 6-4. But the former Australian Open runner-up said he was unhappy after organizers forced him play his first round match Sunday, rather than a later start in the tournament which he had requested to ensure he would be fit.

Bhupathi-Miryani have it easy
India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi of Belarus sailed into the second round of the men's doubles with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Philipp Petzschner of Germany in the French Open tennis here Wednesday.
They next play Spaniards Marc Lopez and Pere Riba, who showed the door to Jonathan Eysseric-Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4.