28 May 2015

Federer eases into third round in Paris

6:49 am on 28 May 2015

Roger Federer avoided any more security scares to move safely into the third round of the French Tennis Open but danger lurks ahead for the Swiss star, namely in the shape of Japanese world number five Kei Nishikori.

The Swiss tennis player Roger Federer in action.

The Swiss tennis player Roger Federer in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The perils of Roland Garros were in evidence in the women's draw too as last year's runner-up Simona Halep, the third seed, bowed out 7-5 6-1 to Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to become the biggest casualty so far.

The 33-year-old Lucic-Baroni, who made her French Open debut in 1999 as a 17-year-old but took a break from tennis before returning, also beat Halep in last year's U.S. Open.

"I didn't feel my game. I don't have a good feeling, that's why I couldn't change anything," Romanian Halep said.

Maria Sharapova, who beat Halep in last year's final, made short work of fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, winning 6-3 6-1 to set up a juicy third-round clash with Samantha Stosur.

Stosur, the 2010 runner-up, came within a game of serving up a "double bagel" over French wildcard Amandine Hesse but had to be content with 6-0 6-1.

While second seed Federer was beating Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-6(1) 6-3, Nishikori took centre stage on Court Phillipe Chatrier and a straight sets win over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci offered further proof of his growing threat.

Left-hander Bellucci is one of the form players on clay this year, but 25-year-old Nishikori passed the test with flying colours, winning 7-5 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round for only the second time.

"I have a lot of confidence on clay right now, so I hope I can do well here, because I haven't done so well before," Nishikori who last year became the first Asian male to reach a grand slam final at the U.S. Open, told reporters.

Nishikori was broken twice, at 5-2 in the second and third sets, but neither proved too damaging as he moved through to a third round clash with Germany's Benjamin Becker who beat Spanish 32nd seed Fernando Verdasco in a five-set cliffhanger.

Federer, on collision course with Nishikori in the semi-final, will play Damir Dzumhur in round three after the Bosnian beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-2.

"I might even go so far to say I have actually almost never seen him play before," Federer said of Sarajevo-based Dzumhur.

Fourth seed Tomas Berdych ended 36-year-old fellow Czech Radek Stepanek's hopes with a four-set victory.

Eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka also made progress, beating Serbian Dusan Lajovic and it was a fantastic day for the French with five men reaching the third round and Alize Cornet progressing in the women's draw.

Twelfth seed Gilles Simon led the home charge, beating Martin Klizan 7-5 6-2 6-3 while Cornet beat Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania) 6-2 7-5.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crushed Israel's Dudi Sela, Nicolas Mahut beat last year's surprise semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis and Benoit Paire also took out a seed, Italy's Fabio Fognini.

Gael Monfils completed the sweep, overcoming Diego Schwartzman to loud cheers on Court Phillipe Chatrier.

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