Nadal too good for Gasquet, Venus wins

Nadal too good for Gasquet, Venus wins

Greul stretches Federer, Serena sinks Czink

Nadal too good for Gasquet, Venus wins

Roger Federer hits a tennis ball into the stands after defeating Simon Greul in the second round of the US Open tennis tournament in New York on Wednesday. AP

As the cameras zoomed in on their stricken joints, with both former world number ones struggling with tendinitis in recent months, Williams skipped into round three with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Less than two hours later a merciless Nadal subjected an unfortunate Richard Gasquet, who was making his own comeback following a doping ban, to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 first-round mauling.

The Grand Slam stage, however, became a poorer place on Wednesday when Marat Safin walked out of the Flushing Meadows -- which he likened to a "zoo" -- for the last time with a final wave to his adoring fans.

Never again will spectators at the four majors catch a glimpse of the brilliance or entertaining antics of Safin after the 2000 champion bowed out in the first round following a 6-1, 4-6, 3-6, 4-6 defeat by Austrian Juergen Melzer.

On a day of farewells, 36-year-old Fabrice Santoro's 69th and final major outing ended in defeat. His French compatriot, former world number one and 17th seed, Amelie Mauresmo was unsure if she too would return next year after she was thumped 6-4, 6-0 by Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in the second round.

Comeback mum Kim Clijsters completed a forgettable day for the French when she beat 14th seed Marion Bartoli 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. This year's Open is turning out to be a family affair as world number one Roger Federer and Australian Lleyton Hewitt will get a chance to compare notes on how to survive the demands of the tour with young children in tow after they set up an intriguing third-round showdown.

In a break with US Open traditions, the evening session kicked off with the men's match between five-times champion Federer and Simon Greul.

Jitters for Federer
The pesky German journeyman provided Federer with a few jitters when he held two set points in the second set and a 3-0 lead in the third but in the end could not prevent the Swiss from chalking up a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 win.

Women's holder Serena Williams was given the honour of closing the night's programme and the second seed was in no mood to hang around for too long as she overwhelmed Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-1, 6-1.

For Safin there will be no more chances to add to his two major crowns as he will be retiring at the end of 2009. In a topsy-turvy career spanning 12 years, Safin's mantra has always been to expect the unexpected.

Whether winning a title in grand style, smashing rackets by the truckload or dropping his shorts on court after conjuring a spectacular winner, the one thing Safin can never be accused of is being boring.

Asked to sum up his abiding memory of the Open, he quipped: "Here first few days it's like a zoo. It's like a million people running around, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, so many people. That's pretty much annoying."

Safin might have been eager to escape the zoo but fellow 29-year-old Williams was determined to prowl around Flushing Meadows for a few more days. Less than 48 hours after coming within three points of defeat, Venus and her heavily strapped left knee enjoyed an easier workout against Mattek-Sands.

"I was moving pretty good and I try not to focus on my body. I put that out of my thoughts," said the 2000 and 2001 champion, who needed a medical time out during her opening match.

Third seed Nadal stepped out for his first Grand Slam match in over three months without wearing any strapping around his knees and the manner of his victory suggested that he did not turn up in New York simply to show off his new sleeker haircut. "I'm back here to try my best," asserted Nadal, who skipped the defence of his Wimbledon title because of his injury.

US Open results
Results (prefix denotes seeding): Second round: 1-Roger Federer (Sui) bt Simon Greul (Ger) 6-3, 7-5, 7-5; 31-Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4;
First round: 9-Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Daniel Gimeno (Esp) 6-4, 7-6(7-3), 6-3; 18-David Ferrer (Esp) bt Alberto Martin (Esp) 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3; Philipp Petzschner (Ger) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) 7-6(7-3), 6-7(8-6), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; 6-Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Juan Monaco (Arg) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1; Robby Ginepri (US) bt Andrei Pavel (Rom) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0; Daniel Koellerer (Aut) bt Rui Machado (Por) 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2; 32-Nicolas Almagro (Esp) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(10-8); Jose Acasuso (Arg) bt Marcos Daniel (Bra) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3; 3-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Richard Gasquet (Fra) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3; Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (Taw) 6-4, 6-2, 6-3; Pablo Cuevas (Uru) bt Chris Guccione (Aus) 6-4, 7-6(7-4), 6-0; 24-Juan Carlos Ferrero (Esp) bt Fabrice Santoro (Fra) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; Nicolas Kiefer (Ger) bt Michael Llodra (Fra) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; Juergen Melzer (Aut) bt Marat Safin (Rus) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Andreas Beck (Ger) bt Evgeny Korolev (Rus) 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 6-4; 13-Gael Monfils (Fra) bt Jeremy Chardy (Fra) 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

Women (first round): 2-Serena Williams (US) bt Melinda Czink (Hun) 6-1, 6-1; 22-Daniela Hantuchova (Slo) bt Timea Bacsinszky (Sui) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1; Vania King (US) bt 15-Samantha Stosur (Aus) 7-5, 6-4; Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Esp) bt Angelique Kerber (Ger) 7-5, 6-3; Kim Clijsters (Bel) bt 14-Marion Bartoli (Fra) 5-7, 6-1, 6-2; 26-Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Stefanie Voegele (Sui) 6-4, 6-4; 8-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) 6-2, 6-1; Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt 12-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4;  3-Venus Williams (US) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) 6-4, 6-2; Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) bt 20-Anabel Medina Garrigues (Esp) 6-1, 6-3; 7-Vera Zvonareva (Rus) bt Anna Chakvetadze (Rus) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1; Magdalena Rybarikova (Slo) bt Chang Kai-Chen (Twn) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; 31-Elena Vesnina (Rus) bt Jill Craybas (US) 7-6(8-6), 6-1; 18-Li Na (Chn) bt Michelle Larcher de Brito (Por) 6-1, 6-3; Aleksandra Wozniak (Can) bt 17-Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) 6-4, 6-0.

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