Rus ends Clijsters' campaign

Dutch woman shows second seed the door; Li Na, Soderling enter third round

The Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus celebrates after her stunning win over Belgium’s Kim Clijsters. AP

As the wind buffeted Roland Garros and the skies threatened a downpour, Nadal improved on his display in a five-set cliffhanger against John Isner on Tuesday but still missed a trick or two in a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 win over compatriot Pablo Andujar.

While he is struggling to reach the level of tennis that has brought him five titles in his six campaigns at Roland Garros the Mallorcan’s battling qualities were again in evidence as he saved seven set points in the third set and fought back from 0-40 down when serving for the second at 5-3.

Russia’s Maria Sharapova matched Nadal’s first-round Houdini act with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over French teenager Caroline Garcia, who had looked well set for a famous win before caving in and losing the last 11 games.

Fourth seed Andy Murray laboured to a 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Simone Bolelli and fifth seed Robin Soderling overcame Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 while China’s Li Na improved on her first-round display with victory over Silvia Soler-Espinosa.  Clijsters, a doubt before the tournament after injuring her ankle at her cousin’s wedding, seemed to have shrugged off any ill effects in a dominant first set before folding 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to little-known Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus.

The Belgian was runner-up in 2001 and 2003 and her exit was her worst performance in Paris since her debut in 2000. The Australian and US Open champion was also on a 15-match winning streak at Grand Slams. Rus, the world number 114 in only her third year on the tour, was ecstatic to have beaten a ‘hero’.

Sweden’s Soderling, who like Clijsters has lost two Paris finals against Roger Federer in 2009 and last year to Nadal, is flying beneath the radar in western Paris with all the focus on stuttering Nadal and the immense form of rival Novak Djokovic. But cheered on by a smattering of Swedes with painted faces on a half-full Court Suzanne Lenglen, Soderling displayed why he is so dangerous on clay with strengths in all areas making up for an occasional inability to kill off a point.

Murray, beaten by Djokovic in January’s Australian Open final, huffed and puffed his way to victory against the stubborn Bolelli but the battling Briton has a decent draw and can never be discounted if he finds his best form. US 10th seed Mardy Fish wrapped up a 7-6, 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Robin Haase while Spain’s Fernando Verdasco went through as Nikolay Davydenko and Marcos Baghdatis crashed out.

Former world number one Sharapova has suffered a series of health problems but with the women’s draw wide open at Roland Garros, which beat competition from the Paris suburbs to keep hosting the event, she has become a hot tip for overall glory. The seventh seed sprayed errors around the court in the first half of her match against Garcia who used the noisy home crowd on court Philippe Chatrier to her advantage.
Sharapova did not panic, however, and rode out the storm before finally hitting her stride.

Results (prefix denotes seeding): Men’s singles: Antonio Veic (Cro) bt 28-Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; 1-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Pablo Andujar (Esp) 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); Leonardo Mayer (Arg) bt 27-Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6); 4-Andy Murray (Bri) bt Simone Bolelli (Ita) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-5; 16-Fernando Verdasco (Esp) bt Xavier Malisse (Bel) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1; Lukasz Kubot (Pol) bt Carlos Berlocq (Arg) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; 10-Mardy Fish (US) bt Robin Haase (Ned) 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-1; Alejandro Falla (Col) bt 20-Florian Mayer (Ger) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-2; Ivan Ljubicic (Cro) bt 24-Sam Querrey (US) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4; 5-Robin Soderling (Swe) bt Albert Ramos (Esp) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Women’s singles: 4-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Pauline Parmentier (Fra) 6-0, 6-1; 7-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Caroline Garcia (Fra) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0; 16-Kaia Kanepi (Est) bt Heather Watson (Bri) 6-1, 6-3; 30-Roberta Vinci (Ita) bt Iryna Bremond (Fra) 6-3, 6-4; Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt Johanna Larsson (Swe) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); 15-Andrea Petkovic (Ger) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; Vania King (US) bt Elena Baltacha (Bri) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; 6-Li Na (Chn) bt Silvia Soler Espinosa (Esp) 6-4, 7-5; 25-Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Chanelle Scheepers (SA) 6-1, 6-4; Chan Yung-jan (Twn) bt Jill Craybas (US) 6-1, 6-4;  Arantxa Rus (Ned) bt 2-Kim Clijsters (Bel) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1; Sorana Cirstea (Rom) bt 27-Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) 6-2, 7-5; 21-Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) bt Ayumi Morita (Jpn) 6-4,  7-5; 9-Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Zheng Jie (Chn) 6-4, 6-1; 12-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Sania Mirza (Ind) 6-2, 6-4.

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