Federer, Sharapova advance on rainy day

Paris, May 31 :

On a third consecutive damp, chilly day at the French Open, top-ranked Federer endured two rain delays while beating Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round.

Federer is bidding for his fourth consecutive Grand Slam title at the only major event he has yet to win. He shanked forehands on two match points in the final game before closing out the victory to improve to 40-3.

No 4-seeded Maria Sharapova, recovering from an ankle injury she aggravated last week, moved well on the center-court clay and beat Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-1.

No 6 Nikolay Davydenko became the first man to reach the third round when Flavio Saretta retired with the flu trailing 6-2, 4-1.

Another Russian, No 14-seeded Dinara Safina, beat Hana Sromova 6-0, 6-2. Safina’s older brother, two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin, was fined $10,000 for failing to hold a post-match conference after losing in the opening round to Fernando Gonzalez.

Two French teenagers advanced on the women’s side. Aravane Rezai, a 19-year-old qualifier, rallied to upset No 22 Ai Sugiyama 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Her compatriot, 16-year-old Alize Cornet, beat 32-year-old Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the completion of a suspended match.

No 24 Katarina Srebotnik beat Ashley Harkleroad 6-3, 6-2, leaving three Americans in the women’s draw. No 17 Flavia Pennetta defeated Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0.

Davydenko takes a seven-match winning streak into his next match against No 30 Carlos Moya, the 1998 champion, who held every service game and beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. No 20 Tomas Berdych swept Filippo Volandri 6-3, 6-1, 6-1.

On Tuesday, No 3-seeded Nadia Petrova was upset by Akiko Morigami 6-2, 6-2. No 5 Justine Henin-Hardenne began a bid for her third title in four years by beating Maret Ani 6-3, 6-0. Kaia Kanepi became the first Estonian to win a Grand Slam match as she defeated Kveta Peschke 6-2, 6-3.

No 9 Fernando Gonzalez beat two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Another two-time major champion, No 14 Lleyton Hewitt, defeated Jan Hernych 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.