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Nadal leads Spanish charge
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 06 - 2012

Rafael Nadal continued his untroubled progress toward a seventh French Open title with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Argentine qualifier Eduardo Schwank Saturday to reach the last 16.
Second seed Nadal, who dropped only nine games in his first two rounds at Roland Garros, was never under threat from the big Argentine doubles specialist.
Schwank, ranked 192 in singles, enjoyed his time in the spotlight, milking the applause when he won a point on the Spaniard's serve midway through the final set and raising his arms to encourage the fans to cheer him on.
Nadal, seeking his 11th Grand Slam title, finished off with a service winner to take the match in two hours 16 minutes.
Next up is a harder task against friend and frequent practice partner Juan Monaco, the 13th seed, after the Argentine beat Canadian Milos Raonic, seeded 19th, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
Also through was Spain's No. 6 David Ferrer, who beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.
Nicolas Almagro of Spain also reached the last 16 seeing off the challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
Maria Sharapova completed her third straight rout, defeating Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 6-1. Sharapova has lost only five games through three matches at Roland Garros this year.
“In the next round, it starts from 0-0. Whoever you're playing, you have to go and try and do the same thing,” Sharapova said. “There are a lot more rounds to go. It just gets tougher from this point.”
Fourth-seeded Andy Murray also advanced, beating Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia defeated Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Paul-Henri Mathieu ran out of gas, losing a five-set epic against Marcel Granollers just two days after a record-breaking marathon win in round two. Mathieu went down 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-1, capitulating in the fifth set as fatigue took over. Granollers will face sixth seed Ferrer in the fourth round.
On the women's side, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Varvara Lepchenko of the US 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 and former top-ranked player Caroline Wozniacki was eliminated by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-1, 6-7 (3) 6-3.
Also, fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova advanced beating Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. Defending champion Li Na also advanced, but needed three sets to defeat Christina McHale of the US 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands also advanced beating Julia Goerges of Germany 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-2.
Lepchenko, who was born in Uzbekistan but now lives in Pennsylvania, is unseeded at Roland Garros and had never before made it past the second round at any Grand Slam tournament.
She had 44 unforced errors against Schiavone, but still managed to advance.
“It's her court, you know,” Lepchenko said. “I knew that she's not going to give it for free. I had to work really hard, and I did.”
Schiavone won her only Grand Slam title at the French Open two years ago. Last year, she lost to Li Na in the final.
Kvitova is the only player ranked in the top 10 who has not yet reached a final this year. But she missed some tournaments with injury and illness.
“I have had already a tough season. After Australia I was really injured and I couldn't play,” said Kvitova, who won her first Grand Slam title at last year's Wimbledon. “So I'm happy that I can play right now and play my tennis again.”


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