Safina quickly moves into 2nd round at French Open

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The Independent Online

Top-seeded Dinara Safina quickly worked her way into the second round of the French Open today, routing Anne Keothavong of Britain 6-0, 6-0.

The Russian favorite sprayed shots to all parts of the court at Roland Garros, giving her opponent few chances on Day 2 of the tournament.

"I was just playing point by point, game by game, and it ended up like this," said Safina, half of the only brother-sister combination alongside Marat Safin to have served as the No 1-ranked player in the world.

Keothavong had a couple of chances on center court, but she wasted two break points in the third game of the first set, and led 40-0 in the fourth game of the second but couldn't hold on.

"When that's happening to you all you want to do is get on the scoreboard, but I wasn't able to do that," Keothavong said. "It just kept getting harder and harder."

During the changeover for the final game, Keothavong sat in her chair with a French Open towel draped over her head. She emerged from the short break and quickly trailed 0-40, giving Safina three match points.

But Keothavong saved them all, on unforced errors from Safina, and even held two game points.

Safina wasted a fourth match point by hitting long and converted the fifth with a forehand winner down the line.

"After I (shook) her hand, she said: 'At least you could give me one game,"' Safina said. "I could imagine it's not nice to feel (like that) on the court, but I was just so into myself."

Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic won 6-0, 6-0 at the French Open last year, and Serena Williams did it in 2003.

Safina took over as the top-ranked women's player in April, but she has yet to win a Grand Slam title. She lost in last year's French Open final, and also came within a match of winning the Australian Open this season.

No. 29 Agnes Szavay of Hungary also advanced Monday, beating Corinna Dentoni of Italy 6-3, 6-4.

On the men's side, 10th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat Stefan Koubek of Austria 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, and Mikhail Youzhny of Russia defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (2), 6-1, 6-4.

Later Monday, defending men's champion Rafael Nadal and three-time finalist Roger Federer are scheduled to play on center court. Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova are to play in the women's draw.

On Sunday, former top-ranked player Amelie Mauresmo exited early from yet another French Open, this time losing in the first round to Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-4, 6-3.

"I couldn't find the right pace or the distance I needed," the Frenchwoman said after losing on center court. "I don't know. My performance was not good enough. I couldn't neutralize her, and I thought this would be the most important aspect."

Mauresmo has had her worst Grand Slam results at her home tournament, only getting as far as the quarterfinals on two occasions. She won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006, and reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open that same year.

If it was the pressure of playing in front of her many fans that caused her to struggle Sunday, it wasn't something she wanted to talk about.

"Don't know. I don't know. I don't know," the 16th-seeded Mauresmo said. "I can't give you anything this evening. You know, I don't want to speak. That's all. I'm quite clear."