Paris: Miffed about the scheduling of matches at the French Open, Rafael Nadal took the court at 11 AM on Friday lacking his usual intensity, and it showed. The seven-time champion had to come from behind for the second match in a row to beat Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Nadal criticized tournament organizers for scheduling his match with Klizan late on Thursday with rain predicted. The forecast proved correct, and the match was postponed a day, while Nadal's next opponent - Fabio Fagnini - won earlier on Thursday and will have a day's rest before their match on Saturday.

Nadal must win six matches to reclaim trophy


Because the second-round match against Klizan was postponed a day, Nadal must win six matches in the final 10 days of the tournament to reclaim the trophy.

While Nadal was behind schedule and unhappy about it, Roger Federer and Serena Williams easily moved into the fourth round. Defending champion Maria Sharapova won a rain-interrupted match to reach the third round.

Entering the tournament, Nadal had lost only 14 sets in 53 matches at the French Open. Now he has dropped the opening set in each of the first two rounds. When Klizan's final shot sailed out, Nadal gave the cheering crowd a relieved thumbs-up and managed a weak smile. The Spaniard blamed his patchy play on a lack of practice time because of rain.

Federer cruises into round four
 
Federer, seeded No. 2, was broken in the opening game but held the rest of the way and eased into the fourth round by beating No. 30 Julien Benneteau of France, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Federer hit 31 winners with 21 unforced errors to eliminate Benneteau, who had won when they played at Rotterdam in February.

Federer seeks a record 18th Grand Slam title, and his first since Wimbledon last year.
 
Desperate Serena makes into fourth round

The No. 1-ranked Williams, seeking her first French Open title since 2002, beat Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-2 and has lost only six games in three matches. Williams swung hard, as always, but committed only 16 unforced errors and extended her career-best winning streak to 27 matches. "I play very aggressive," she said. "That's important for me, because I want to keep on winning here."

Sharapova floors Bouchard


Sharapova needed only 15 minutes to close out a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard. The match was suspended on Thursday night with Sharapova up a break in the second set at 4-2, and she was relieved to finish.

(Agencies)

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