Nadal passes first test

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Nadal passes first test

Four-time champion Rafael Nadal beat Gianni Mina of France 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the French Open.

By (AP)

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Published: Wed 26 May 2010, 12:51 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:08 AM

Nadal, who lost his first match at Roland Garros when he was defeated last year by Robin Soderling in the round of 16, extended his record to 32-1 at Roland Garros.

The second-ranked Spaniard committed 28 unforced errors and had to save nine break points against the 655th-ranked Mina.

Earlier, Justine Henin took a big step in her return from retirement, beating Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3 in the first round.

The match was Henin’s first on center court at Roland Garros since 2007, when she won the tournament for the fourth time.

“I didn’t know really what to expect and how I was going to deal with my emotions,” the Belgian said. “As I walked in and I was into my match, I felt a lot of things were coming back. It was just fantastic to share this again with the crowd, as they gave me one more time great support. So it was very good to be back.”

Henin rejoined the tour in January following a 20-month retirement, and while she’s seeded only 22nd, she’s considered one of the favorites for the title. Henin endured some ragged moments in the second set, when Pironkova won three consecutive games for a 3-2 lead. Henin swept 10 points in a row to regain control, and following another wobble serving at 4-3, she took the final six points.

Henin hit picturesque backhands, nifty drop shots and booming overhead slams — all staples in a repertoire that has helped her win seven Grand Slam titles. She also missed more than half of her first serves, however, and blew a handful of easy putaways.

“I’ve worked pretty hard in the last few months, but the way is still very long,” she said. “I’m probably less consistent now than I was in terms of keeping the intensity all the time. That’s what I’m working on at the moment.”

Despite the inconsistent play, Henin extended her winning streak at Roland Garros to 22 consecutive matches and 37 consecutive sets. She hasn’t lost at the French Open since 2004.

Kimiko Date Krumm also made a successful Roland Garros comeback, beating two-time runner-up Dinara Safina 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. The 39-year-old Date Krumm, who ended a 12-year retirement in 2008, was playing in the French Open for the first time since 1996.

She’s the second-oldest woman to win a match in the tournament.

Warm, hazy weather had players seeking refuge under umbrellas in their changeover chairs, and the conditions seemed to suit seeded players. Among those advancing were No. 18 Sharar Peer, No. 21 Vera Zvonareva, No. 23 Daniela Hantuchova and No. 29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. None lost more than six games.

On the men’s side, No. 7 Fernando Verdasco beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 and Andy Roddick endured repeated frustrations on his worst surface before rallying past Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

The match was Roddick’s first on clay since he lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. The sixth-seeded American barely avoided losing his opening French Open match for the fifth time. —

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