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Serena, Murray find feet on clay

May 29, 2008 10:58 IST

Serena Williams ran into a spot of bother before downing France's Mathilde Johansson 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday.

- Images from Day 4

The American, who is the only past Roland Garros winner in the women's draw after four-times champion Justine Henin's retirement, prevailed in one hour and 33 minutes after trailing 5-3 in the second set.

The fifth seed will meet either Russian Ekaterina Makarova or Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik for a last-16 spot.

"I didn't want to go three sets today. I thought I could close it out in two sets and it was getting dark," Williams told a press conference.

"I'm tired of playing so late and in the dark and I was like, okay, I'm going to close it out before then."

Backed by a boisterous crowd, Johansson boldly took her chances but it was not enough to really bother the American.

The Swedish-born Johansson had a chance to level at 3-3 on Williams' serve but failed to convert and collapsed, losing the first set after 38 minutes.

However, Serena struggled with her serve in the second and Johansson took advantage of it to break for 5-3.

But the former world number one broke straight back and went on to win the three remaining games, wrapping it up on her second match point when Johansson netted a backhand.

"She really went faster and faster, and I'm very disappointed now because I couldn't do anything then," Johansson told reporters.


Tenth seed Andy Murray turned what was predicted to be a potential shock into a stroll by crushing Argentine Jose Acasuso 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 in the second round.

Murray, who had not won at Roland Garros before this week, never took his foot off the gas against the claycourt specialist as he triumphed in 98 minutes.

"Sometimes you go on the court and feel like you've got a little something to prove," Murray told reporters.

"Acasuso might not be a (Roger) Federer or (Novak) Djokovic or (Rafael) Nadal but he's ranked 40, 45 in the world mainly on clay. I went out and played great and showed I'm a very good player on clay."

The Scot took the first set in 34 minutes before producing several exquisite groundstrokes in the second as the world number 49 struggled with his movement at the back of the court.

Acasuso arrested the loss of seven successive games at the start of the third but Murray broke once more before winning on his third match point to book a meeting with Spanish 19th seed Nicolas Almagro.

"I was very pleased. It was a great performance," said Murray.

"I did everything well, served and returned well. Overall I didn't make too many mistakes. I was very aggressive and my shot selection was excellent.

"To win against him in straight sets and not lose serve and break five, six times, it doesn't happen too often a match goes as smoothly as that."

The only mishap for Murray was when he accidentally hit a linesman with his racket while serving for the match.

Luckily no permanent damage was done.

"It's never happened to me before where I've hit a linesman with the racket," he said.

"I was quite far back in the court, I had a little bit of space to hit into and I thought I was going to hit the passing shot.

"When I took the racket back I felt I hit him very hard. I think it was on his head or his shoulder. Obviously I couldn't control the ball because my racket was all over the place."

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