May 29, 2012
Nadal, Murray win French openers
By SPORTS NETWORK
PARIS - Two-time reigning champion and six-time overall titlist Rafael Nadal and three-time Grand Slam runner-up Andy Murray were a pair of easy first-round winners Tuesday at the French Open.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal blew past helpless Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 on the famed red clay at Court Chatrier. Nadal committed only 18 unforced errors en route to the predictable victory.
If Nadal can garner a seventh title here next week he would set a new men's record for French Open championships in the Open Era (since 1968). He currently shares the mark of six with legendary Swede Bjorn Borg.
Nadal is a 10-time major champ and has been the runner-up to current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the last three Grand Slam finals, including the Australian Open back in January.
The 25-year-old Nadal is now a remarkable 46-1 lifetime at Roland Garros, including a victory over Roger Federer in last year's finale.
Up next for the mighty Spaniard will be Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who drilled Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 on Day 3.
The fourth-seeded Murray, who lost to Nadal in his first-ever French Open semifinal here a year ago, defeated Japan's Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 7-5, 6-0 on Tuesday.
Spain's David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia also advanced at the world's lone clay-court major.
The sixth-seeded Ferrer eased past Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, while the eighth-seeded Tipsarevic recovered from a poor first set and posted a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 victory over American Sam Querrey.
Twelfth-seeded Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro eliminated Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, while 13th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco erased Frenchman Guillaume Rufin 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).
Almagro is fresh off his clay title in Nice last week.
A minor upset saw Sergiy Stakhovsky capture a five-set battle with fellow Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, topping the 16th seed 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, while 17th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet avoided an upset by handling Estonian Jurgen Zopp 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 29th-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau edged out German Mischa Zverev 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4, and No. 32 seed Florian Mayer of Germany whipped Spaniard Daniel Gimeno- Traver 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Promising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov drubbed American Donald Young 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, 6-1, while stylish Frenchman Jeremy Chardy outlasted Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 11-9 in 4 hours, 11 minutes.
Several other men reached the second round, including oft-injured former world No. 2 German Tommy Haas, Dutchman Robin Haase, Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen, France's Benoit Paire, and Russian veteran Dmitry Tursunov. Haas topped Italian Filippo Volandri 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.