Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova returns the ball during the second round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Italy's Camilla Giorgi at the Roland Garros stadium

Nadal advances to third round in quest for ninth French Open title

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal improved his French Open record to 61-1 after beating big-hitting Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. The Spaniard’s only defeat at Roland Garros was in the fourth round against Robin Soderling five years ago. He was never in danger of losing this time, but was occasionally on the back foot as Thiem went for his shots throughout the match and broke the top-seeded Nadal’s serve twice.

PARIS — Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal improved his French Open record to 61-1 after beating big-hitting Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday.

The Spaniard’s only defeat at Roland Garros was in the fourth round against Robin Soderling five years ago. He was never in danger of losing this time, but was occasionally on the back foot as Thiem went for his shots throughout the match and broke the top-seeded Nadal’s serve twice.

“It was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today,” Nadal said. “I am happy with the way I resisted. When I had to play long points I did well. When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well.”

Although Nadal broke Thiem’s serve seven times overall, Thiem’s powerful groundstrokes caused Nadal problems and he applauded the 20-year-old Thiem as he left centre court.

“He will have his chances to become a top star and fight for these tournaments,” Nadal said. “I really fought back against his attacks.”

With Nadal serving at 5-1 in the first set, Thiem saved a set point with a backhand volley at the net, then forced a break point with a forehand winner into the right corner and won the game with a replica stroke on the next point.

Nadal sealed the second set with a forehand winner down the line, but Thiem broke him again and then held for a 3-1 lead in the third.

That prompted Nadal to step up a gear and secure two consecutive breaks.

“I continued to deploy an attacking style and him move around the court,” Nadal said. “I put pressure on him.”

Nadal, who sealed victory on his second match point, next faces either Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who beat Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, last year’s runner-up to Nadal; Briton’s Andy Murray, seeded seventh, and No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France also advanced to the third round in straight sets.

Ferrer beat Italy’s Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; the two-time Grand Slam champion Murray followed up with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win against Australia’s Marinko Matosevic, and Gasquet won 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

Ferrer next faces No. 32 Andreas Seppi of Italy, while Murray faces No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

“It was a good serving performance today, especially when I was down in games,” Murray said. “I returned very well (on) the second serve. I attacked it very well. My timing was there on forehand and backhand.”

Also, No. 14 Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (2); 19th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Axel Michon 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 and American Donald Young won 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-3 against No. 26 Feliciano Lopez.

In the women’s draw, fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania beat Britain’s Heather Watson 6-2, 6-4; No. 5 Petra Kvitova won 6-4, 6-4 against Marina Erakovic, No. 6 Sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic won 7-5, 6-0 against Japan’s Kurumi Nara, and No. 10 Sara Errani of Italy — a runner-up in 2012 — won 6-2, 6-4 against Germany’s Dinah Pfizenmaier.

Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who beat second-seeded Li Na — the former champion — in the first round, followed up with a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win against American Alison Riske.

No. 15 Sloane Stephens of the United States; No. 23 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, and former French Open champions Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia also advanced. Kuznetsova faces Kvitova in the third round and Ivanovic plays Safarova.

Also through to the third round are: No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova; No. 28 Andrea Petkovic, Kiki Bertens, Julia Glushko and Pauline Parmentier.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Centrefest brings feats of daring to Red Deer’s downtown

Fundraising was a tough slog, but it came together in the end

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Jones’ punt return TD rallies Riders to road victory over Ticats

Roughriders 31 Tiger-Cats 20 HAMILTON — Brandon Bridge kept Dave Watford on… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer’s Iron Buffalo rocks Westerner Days

Iron Buffalo opened for Helix and Lee Aaron Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium

Zuckerberg’s Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

NEW YORK — Denying the Holocaust happened is probably OK on Facebook.… Continue reading

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month