The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 31, 2013

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams advance at French Open

PARIS — Miffed about the scheduling of matches at the French Open, Rafael Nadal took the court at 11 a.m. 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 Thursday and will have a day's rest before their match Saturday.

"That's not fair," Nadal said. "Today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my (next) opponent was watching the TV in the locker room."

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's 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.

"That makes the things not easy," Nadal said. "So I started the match probably with not the right intensity, with more doubts than usual. The positive thing was that I had a good reaction at the beginning of the second set. Even if I didn't play fantastic, I played the way that I had to play, with intensity, you know, with passion."

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