May 26, 2016

    Nishikori and Halep prove triumphant


    JAPAN'S Kei Nishikori maintained his impressive clay-court form to outclass Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open yesterday.

    The fifth seed, a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year, had too much in his armoury for 40th-ranked Kuznetsov on a sun-bathed Court One although Nishikori got off to a slow start.

    Nishikori, whose only defeats on clay this year came in the Barcelona final against Rafael Nadal and in Madrid and Rome where he was stopped in the semis by Novak Djokovic, will face Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the third round. The latter crushed Croatia's Ivan Dodig.

    Meanwhile, former finalist Simona Halep survived a first-set wobble to reach the third round of the French Open for only the second time in her career with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win over Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas yesterday.

    "The first set was very tough and I was very nervous as I seemed to be fighting for every point," Halep said.

    She and her zebra-print dress will be back on court tomorrow when she takes on Japan's Naomi Osaka for a place in the fourth round.