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Safina upset; Henin, Nadal sail; Roddick struggles

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TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: The 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm, who reached the semifinals here back in 1995, also became the oldest winner of a singles match at Roland Garros since Virginia Wade in 1985.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: The 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm, who reached the semifinals here back in 1995, also became the oldest winner of a singles match at Roland Garros since Virginia Wade in 1985.

PARIS: Four-time champion Justine Henin made a winning return to Roland Garros on Tuesday, but two-time losing finalist Dinara Safina was stunned in the first round by 39-year-old Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm.

Henin beat Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3 to reach the second round but Safina crashed out, losing 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Date Krumm, who became the second oldest winner of a Roland Garros match, after Virginia Wade in 1985.

Men's sixth seed Andy Roddick came through a five-setter to beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Second seed and hot favourite Rafael Nadal also progressed smoothly with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over debutant Gianni Minna.

Henin, the number 22 seed, is appearing her for the first time since she won the event in 2007, having retired from tennis in 2008 and then returned to the sport at the beginning of this year.

The 27-year-old Belgian will now face Czech Klara Zakopalova.

“I never expected to be back here again on this court,” said Henin after taking her first steps on Court Philippe Chatrier since she overwhelmed Ana Ivanovic in the 2007 final.

“When I woke up this morning I wasn't sure what the emotions would be. But when I got out there, a lot of things came back to me.

“It was fantastic and it was an honour to be scheduled there.”

‘Sorry for her'

Date Krumm, who reached the semifinals here back in 1995, will meet Australian wildcard Jarmila Groth in round two after seeing off a sour-tempered Safina, whose season has been hampered by a lower back injury.

“Three weeks ago I injured my calf and to play against Safina on (Court) Suzanne Lenglen, I was already happy just to be here,” said Date Krumm, who needed treatment on her calf at 4-2 down in the third set.

“I tried my best and proved to myself what I can do. I'm very sorry for her but very happy to win.”

Russian 29th seed Anastasiya Pavlyuchenkova booked her place in the next round with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of home favourite Alize Cornet, while Slovakian 23rd seed Daniela Hantuchova thrashed Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-1.

Israeli 18th seed Shahar Peer and Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva will also compete for a place in round three after both won in straight sets.

Five-set ordeal

Roddick will face either Eduardo Schwank of Argentina or Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic for a place in the last 32 after his five-set ordeal against Nieminen on Philippe Chatrier.

The big-hitting American had skipped the entire claycourt season for what he called “personal reasons” and had to dig deep before eventually overcoming his wily 28-year-old opponent in three hours and 19 minutes.

Fernando Verdasco, the seventh seed, breezed past Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, but 26th seed Juan Monaco fell 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to qualifier Grega Zemlja, the World No.141. — Agencies

(Prefix denotes seeding)

First round: Men: 2-Rafael Nadal bt Gianni Minna 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; 9-David Ferrer bt David Guez 6-1, 6-3, 6-1; Andreas Seppi bt Santiago Ventura 7-5, 6-4, 7-5; Denis Istomin bt Benjamin Becker 7-5, 7-5, 6-3; 28-Lleyton Hewitt bt Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 6-0, 6-4.

6-Andy Roddick bt Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3; Blaz Kavcic bt Eduardo Schwank 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 4-0 (retd.); Teimuraz Gabashvili bt Daniel Kollerer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; 7-Fernando Verdasco bt Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 6-2; Grega Zemlja bt 26-Juan Monaco 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3; 22-Jurgen Melzer bt Dudi Sela 7-5, 6-2, 6-4; Nicolas Mahut bt Mischa Zverev 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; Robby Ginepri bt 18-Sam Querrey 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-2; Potito Starace bt Illya Marchenko 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; 16-Juan Carlos Ferrero bt Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-3, 6-1; Pere Riba bt Marc Gicquel 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(5); Florent Serra bt Michael Russell 6-4, 6-0, 6-1; 30-Philipp Kohlschreiber bt Karol Beck 7-6(7), 6-1, 6-1.

Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. bt Arnaud Clement 3-6, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3; 19-Nicolas Almagro bt Robin Haase 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4; 14-Ivan Ljubicic bt Lu Yen-Hsun 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-3; 31-Victor Hanescu bt Oscar Hernandez 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3; Mardy Fish bt Michael Berrer 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Women: 13-Marion Bartoli bt Maria Elena Camerin 6-2, 6-2; 16-Yanina Wickmayer bt Sandra Zahlavova 6-1, 6-1; 25-Jie Zheng bt Ekatrina Bychkova 7-5, 6-4; 12-Maria Sharapova bt Ksenia Pervak 6-3, 6-2; Jill Craybas bt Katie O'Brien 6-0, 4-6, 6-2; 29-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova bt Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2; 18-Shahar Peer bt Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-1, 6-4; Bethanie Mattek-Sands bt Vania King 6-2, 6-2; Kirsten Flipkens bt Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-4; Klara Zakopalova bt Katarina Srebotnik 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2; 22- Justine Henin bt Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3; 23-Daniela Hantuchova bt Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-1.

Olga Govortsova bt Carla Suarez 7-6(9), 6-1; Jarmila Groth bt Chan Yung-Jan 6-2, 6-3; Anastasia Rodionova bt Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

21-Vera Zvonareva bt Alberta Brianti 6-3, 6-1; Kimiko Date Krumm bt 9-Dinara Safina 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Jarmila Groth bt Chan Yung-Jan 6-2, 6-3; Anastasia Rodionova bt Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2; 21-Vera Zvonareva bt Alberta Brianti 6-3, 6-1; 7-Samantha Stosur bt Simona Halep 7-5, 6-1; 4-Jelena Jankovic bt Alicia Molik 6-0, 6-4; 27-Alona Bondarenko bt Vera Dushevina 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4.

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