Roger Federer dealt calmly with a pair of rain interruptions, not letting the weather interfere with his concentration in a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Colombian Alejandro Falla to reach the third round of the French Open.

Last year’s losing finalist Robin Soderling also progressed to the third round. He crushed American Taylor Dent 6-0, 6-1, 6-1.

Three more men’s seeds ducked the weather to advance.

French favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the number eight, beat rising compatriot Josselin Ouanna 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 while Croatian tenth seed Marin Cilic defeated Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

Tsonga said it was tough playing his good friend, but the seed showed no mercy.

“I thought I have to start playing with a lot of intensity, grab him by the throat. I didn’t want him to do too much, and frankly, it was a good start from my side,” he said. “This weighed a lot on the whole match.”

Russian 11th seed Mikhail Youzhny overcame an early stutter to defeat Slovenian Lukas Lacko 6-7 (8-6), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Federer was interrupted by brief bouts of rain as the forecast of poorer weather came true after days of hot sunshine in the capital.

The Swiss improved to 3-0 in the series with the 70th-ranked Falla, with all matches played at Grand Slams. Federer won his 20th match of the season as he finished on the first of three match point as the South American returned long.

“Falla is a dangerous opponent, I knew I had to win the first set to have best chances of winning,” said Federer. “I’m very content with my game right now.

“During the rain break I spoke with my coach and we decided that I needed to play more aggressive when we returned.” Soderling, who lost the 2009 decider to Roger Federer, showed no mercy in the hammering of Dent which took just 71 minutes and finished before a concurrent women’s match.

Fifth seed Soderling broke his American opponent eight times while fighting off four break points against his serve.

The Swede, who last played Dent in 2004, improved to 11-6 in Paris as he bids for the sixth title of his career.

Dent, who has been tormented by back problems which required surgery and kept him off the ATP for months on end several seasons back, last competed in Paris six years ago and had never been to the second round previously.

The Californian has now lost his last 10 matches against Top 10 opposition.

Venus Williams advances

Women’s second seed Venus Williams, her career as a fashion designer starting to rival her tennis, displayed another new lace dress as she beat Spain’s Arantxa Santonja 6-2, 6-4.

“The courts were playing slower than my first round, so definitely had to work the point a little more,” said the American. “She’s scrappy, so I didn’t know exactly what ball to expect. That definitely kept me on my toes. Overall today I just thought I played well on the bigger points, especially on my serve. That was key.”

Kuznetsova struggles

Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova struggled to survive, with German Andrea Petkovic missing on four match points in the second set and losing in the third 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Flavia Pennetta, seeded 14th, crushed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1 while 15th-seed Aravane Rezai continued her seam of clay form with a defeat of German Angelique Kerber 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

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