Venus and Davydenko take advantage of dry spell

It was a case of better late than never for Venus Williams and Nikolay Davydenko when the pair made the most of a short dry spell to sneak into the second round.

sports Updated: May 29, 2007 11:55 IST
Pritha Sarkar
Pritha Sarkar

It was a case of better late than never for Venus Williams and Nikolay Davydenko when the pair made the most of a short dry spell to sneak into the second round of the French Open on Monday.

Rain pelted down over Roland Garros for the second day running and Williams capitalised on the 90-minute window to overcome rising French prospect Alize Cornet 6-4 6-3 while Davydenko demolished Italian Stefano Galvani 6-3 6-1 6-1.

Williams had expected to face Cornet on Sunday but instead twiddled her thumbs in the locker room as drizzle washed away most of the opening day's schedule.

After enduring a further three-hour delay on Monday, the American took out her frustration on her 17-year-old opponent.

Playing in front of a smattering of fans, Williams survived four games going against the serve and took the first set with a stinging crosscourt winner.

Cornet, ranked 118th in the world and without a title to her name, was not expected to pose much of a threat to the five-times grand slam champion.

Once she lost a chance to go 3-2 up with a break in the second set, her hope of pulling off an upset evaporated into the grey clouds hanging over Centre Court.

Play faster

"I'm just very happy to be healthy and to have the opportunity to play," said 26th seed Williams, who missed the last two slams with wrist problems.

"That's very important because I haven't had a lot of good luck with injuries in the last couple years.

"The most important thing is that I'm on tour and as long as I'm on tour, I feel like really good things can happen to me."

Davydenko wrapped up his win just in time after a stressful morning.

As rain began to beat down on the red clay, 117th ranked Galvani tossed a forehand wide to hand the Russian victory.

"At 4-1 (in the third), I was thinking to myself 'I need to break, break, break or play faster because the rain was coming'. I didn't want to stop and end up needing one more game (for victory)."

The Russian said he had also faced a few jittery moments in the morning when he was stuck in traffic en route to Roland Garros and would have turned up late if his match had started as scheduled at 11 a.m. local time (0900 GMT).

"I was nervous about being disqualified as I was going nowhere in the traffic. I was thinking, I don't have time to take shower, I don't have time to change clothes? it was pretty tough."

Li Na was also dreaming about outfits but her plans to go on a shopping spree in the fashion capital of the world proved to be a little premature after she racked up a 7-6 6-0 win over Germany's Sandra Kloesel.

"I don't like clay but I love Paris," said the Chinese 16th seed.

"I love to go shopping, so I was like, if I lose the match, I go shopping."

World number one Roger Federer had streaked ahead of American journeyman Michael Russell 6-4 4-1 when yet another deluge soaked the players as they scurried back into the locker room.

Only 14 matches have been completed over the first two days of the claycourt grand slam, giving organisers a scheduling headache for the first week of the tournament.

First Published: May 29, 2007 11:49 IST