News Column

Rafael Nadal Reaches French Open's Third Round

June 1, 2013

Rafael Nadal described the French Open schedule as a joke, after struggling through his second-round match against Martin Klizan in Paris yesterday.

The seven-times champion was scheduled to play on Thursday but only got as far as the warm-up before the rain came down, and he had to return yesterday morning.

For the second successive match, Nadal dropped the opening set but again he turned things around to defeat the Slovakian, 4-6, 6- 3, 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard's gripe was that his next opponent, Fabio Fognini, was scheduled to play his match against Lukas Rosol earlier on Thursday and therefore will have had almost an extra day's rest when they meet today.

He said: I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of yesterday was wrong. That's the real thing.

I cannot play third after a men's and a girl's match when my possible opponent plays second after girls. That's not fair - and today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. So if you told me that's fair, I say that's not fair. The only thing that I can do is be positive, smile, and try to win my match and try to be ready for tomorrow.

Nadal looked particularly sluggish in the first set yesterday, making uncharacteristic errors and dropping the ball far too short.

Nadal said: In the first set I simply was not motivated enough. I tried, but I couldn't find the necessary motivation.

So I started the match probably with not the right intensity, with more doubts than usual.

The positive thing was that I had a good reaction at the beginning of the second set. I'm just happy to be through at the end. The most important thing is win on these kind of days, and hopefully the conditions will improve, because with these conditions it is not easy to play well.

Serena Williams will hope she can ignore her winning streak for four more matches after cruising into the fourth round of the women's draw.

The world number one's 6-0, 6-2 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea made it 27 straight wins and 70 from 73 since her first- round defeat at Roland Garros last year.

Williams said: I actually don't think about it, and after every match I'm reminded. And, ironically enough, I forget about it as soon as it's done. I don't think it's about a winning streak. I think it's about winning important matches and winning the right matches at the right time.

Maria Sharapova is a round behind but wasted little time yesterday finishing off Eugenie Bouchard.

The defending champion drew the short straw weatherwise on Thursday, not starting her match until late on because of the poor weather and then being unable to finish.

Bouchard and a reluctant Sharapova left Court Philippe Chatrier at 9pm with the rain falling steadily, and with the Russian only two games away from victory.

Bouchard should have levelled at 5-5 but missed a golden opportunity for a forehand winner and that was that yesterday as Sharapova wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

The second seed said: It was a pretty long day yesterday. I left here pretty late and then had an early morning. But we all know what to expect. Overall, I was just happy that I finished the match and on to the next round.

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Source: Copyright Western Morning News (England) 2013. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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