The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nadal scripts 55th straight win on clay
- French Open
- Smooth sailing for Mauresmo, Clijsters, Hingis

Paris: The biggest excitement in Rafael Nadalís latest French Open victory came when he took off his shoe.

The defending champion caused a stir when he asked a trainer during a changeover, but Nadal was merely bothered by the tape on his right foot, and he went on to beat Kevin Kim 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Friday.

Nadal moved into the third round with his 55th consecutive win on clay, extending his Open-era record. Among those impressed was Kim, an American ranked 97th. Their match was one of the 10 postponed in a day when rain backed up the schedule.

Better weather seemed to suit No. 8 James Blake, who rallied past clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Blake is the lone American left in the menís draw.

Blake trailed when the match was suspended after one set on Thursday night, and overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third set to take the lead. Heís the first American man to reach the third round since 2003.

No. 11 Venus Williams advanced to the fourth round by beating Karolina Sprem 7-5, 6-3. Sprem had upset Venus two years ago in the second round at the Wimbledon. Venus will next play No. 7 Patty Schnyder, who rallied past Julia Vakulenko 2-6, 7-5, 6-0.

Top-ranked Amelie Mauresmo, bidding for her second successive Grand Slam title, beat Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-3.

She next plays 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, who beat qualifier Aravane Rezai 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-0.

In a centre-court showdown between former champions, No. 10 Gaston Gaudio beat No. 24 Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (7). Gaudio had lost five consecutive matches against Ferrero on clay.

Gaudio next plays No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko, who beat 1998 champion Carlos Moya 6-1, 7-5, 6-3. No. 7 Tommy Robredo defeated Lukas Dlouhy 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters won easily after their second-round matches were delayed a day. No. 6 Elena Dementieva rallied in a match suspended overnight, beating Viktoriya Kutuzova 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 despite 15 double faults.

Hingis, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2001, overcame a brief lapse in the second set and beat Zuzana Ondraskova 6-1, 6-3 in 49 minutes. A five-time Grand Slam champion, the No. 12-seeded Hingis is mounting a comeback from injuries. Roland Garros is the only major event she is yet to win.

Clijsters, seeded second, beat Conchita Martinez Granados 6-0, 6-3 in 55 minutes. Hingis won the first nine points, committed only three unforced errors in the first 12 games and led 4-0 in the second set. But then her forehand went awry. Ondraskova, ranked 114th, won three consecutive games and had a point for four-all before Hingis steadied her strokes and closed out the match. (AP)

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