Nishikori takes center stage, Halep crashes out
By Martyn Herman
PARIS (Reuters) - Roger Federer avoided any more security scares to move safely into the third round of the French Open on Wednesday but danger lurks ahead for the Swiss, namely in the shape of Japanese firebrand Kei Nishikori.
The perils of Roland Garros were in evidence in the women's draw too as last year's runner-up Simona Halep, the third seed, bowed out 7-5 6-1 to Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to become the biggest casualty so far.
The 33-year-old Lucic-Baroni, who made her French Open debut in 1999 as a 17-year-old but took a break from tennis before returning, also beat Halep in last year's U.S. Open.
"I didn't feel my game. I don't have a good feeling, that's why I couldn't change anything," Romanian Halep said.
Maria Sharapova, who beat Halep in last year's final, made short work of fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, winning 6-3 6-1 to set up a juicy third-round clash with Samantha Stosur.
Stosur, the 2010 runner-up, came within a game of serving up a "double bagel" over French wildcard Amandine Hesse but had to be content with 6-0 6-1.
While second seed Federer was beating Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-6(1) 6-3, Nishikori took center stage on Court Phillipe Chatrier and a straight sets win over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci offered further proof of his growing threat.
Left-hander Bellucci is one of the form players on clay this year, but 25-year-old Nishikori passed the test with flying colors, winning 7-5 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round for only the second time. Continued...