Problems pile up for Nadal but Serena makes haste

Fri May 31, 2013 3:57pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - A lack of sunshine, inferior opponents in his face and now a rant at the French Open schedule - things are not going as planned for defending champion Rafa Nadal despite a belated second-round victory at Roland Garros on Friday.

The Spaniard finally got his challenge for a record eighth title moving again after it ground to a standstill in dismal weather, seeing off Slovakia's Martin Klizan 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3.

Women's champion Maria Sharapova required only 15 minutes on a cool but dry Chatrier Court as she polished off her second-round opponent Eugenie Bouchard having been a set and 4-2 to the good when rain stopped play on Thursday.

Top seed Serena Williams moved into the fourth round with a 6-0 6-2 rout of Romanian Sorana Cirstea. The American has dropped a mere six games and her winning streak now stands at 27 matches.

"Every slam is really my priority," said the 15-times major winner but only once French Open champion. "I would love to win this one, but there is still a lot of people in the draw that would love to win this tournament."

Nadal's clash with Klizan was one of several second-round matches from the top half of the men's draw which is lagging behind the bottom half occupied by second seed Roger Federer, who remained untroubled with a win against Julien Benneteau.

Federer provided 90 minutes of silky tennis to win 6-3 6-4 7-5 having taken the match by the scruff of the neck with a burst of 14 straight points towards the end of the opening set.

The Swiss's sanguine mood was a contrast to Nadal's who labeled the tournament's schedule "a joke" after playing catch-up after his match with Klizan was rained off the previous day.   Continued...

Ball boys bring towels to Rafael Nadal of Spain during his men's singles match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe