Davydenko, Safina advance

Nikolay Davydenko became the first man to reach the third round at the French Open when Flavio Saretta retired because of flu.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Nikolay Davydenko became the first man to reach the third round at the French Open when Flavio Saretta retired because of the flu trailing in the second set of their match on Wednesday. Seeded sixth, Davydenko led 6-2, 4-1 when Saretta quit. "He was sick already from yesterday," Davydenko said. "We get some long rally. I think he was feeling he cannot like try to play more games." Another Russian, No. 14-seeded Dinara Safina, beat Hana Sromova 6-0, 6-2. Safina hit 31 winners, including six aces. Davydenko, a semifinalist last year at Roland Garros, extended his winning streak this month to seven matches. He won his sixth career title on Saturday in Austria. The weather was cool and damp for the fourth day of the tournament, with rain briefly interrupting play. Davydenko played well from the beginning despite an 11 a.m. (local time) start. "It looks like you're sleeping on the court the first few games because this was too early," Davydenko said. But he hit 15 winners to six for Saretta and lost only six points on his serve. Same old story For American men at the French Open, it's the same old story - even the quotes. "Whatever I said last year, just copy it," said Andy Roddick, one of five U.S. first-round losers. "I'm sure it still fits." For the second time since 1967, only two American men advanced to the second round at Roland Garros. It also happened in 2004. A year ago, three made it. And Roddick's right: Last year's quote still fits. "We all have a lot of pride," he said then, "and it has gotten taken down a lot in the last couple of years here." Roddick made his latest hasty exit on a bad ankle, retiring when he trailed Alberto Martin 6-4, 7-5, 1-0 on Tuesday. Seeded fifth, Roddick aggravated a sprain he suffered last week and quit in part because he feared making the injury worse. But like his compatriots, Roddick tends to stumble on red clay anyway. He lost in the opening round for the third time in six appearances at Roland Garros, and his career record at his worst Grand Slam event fell to 4-6. "I wanted to come out here and at least give it a shot," Roddick said. "I've played through injuries before. But the circumstances here and how much you use that part of your body on this stuff makes it a tough combo." Preceding him to the sideline were fellow Americans Paul Goldstein, Vince Spadea, Justin Gimelstob and No. 17-seeded Robby Ginepri. Two years ago, for the first time at a Grand Slam event since 1973, no US men made it to the third round, and it could happen again. The two remaining Americans, No. 8-seeded James Blake and Kevin Kim, face difficult matches on Thursday. Blake plays Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who's 19-6 on clay this year. Kim, who lost in qualifying and made the field only because another player withdrew, faces defending champion Rafael Nadal. The French Open has long brought out the worst in US men. Grand Slam champions such as Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors never won at Roland Garros. (AP)