Nadal and Safina shine at the Open
PARIS - RAFAEL Nadal, bidding for an historic fifth successive French Open title, swept into the second round yesterday, while women's top seed Dinara Safina engineered a brutal centre court humiliation.
Top seed and world number one Nadal saw off plucky Brazilian qualifier Marcos Daniel 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to take his Roland Garros career record to 29 wins in 29 matches.
He will now face either Igor Kunitsyn or Teimuraz Gabashvili, both Russians, for a place in the last 32.
Women's world number one Safina handed out a 6-0, 6-0 mauling to Anne Keothavong as the Russian's howitzer hitting ruthlessly exposed the Briton's glaring weaknesses.
Safina, the 2008 runner-up and bidding to win a maiden Grand Slam title, will face compatriot Vitalia Diatchenko, a qualifier, for a place in the last 32.
Also making progress were third seed Venus Williams, the 2002 runner-up, who saw off Amercian compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
Japanese Ai Sugiyama went out 6-3, 6-2 to France's Aravane Rezai.
Elsewhere, in the men's first round, Russian 10th seed Nikolay Davydenko, twice a semi-finalist, eased past Austria's Stefan Koubek 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 with compatriot Mikhail Youzhny also advancing with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1, 6-4 win over Luxembourg's Gilles Muller. - Sapa/AFP