Murray, Safina into French Open third round

PARIS: British third seed Andy Murray battled into the French Open last 32 on Wednesday as Roland Garros prepared to acclaim yet another record for four-time champion Rafael Nadal.

World number three Murray overcame a stern test from Italian world 104 Potito Starace before prevailing 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

In the women’s singles, Top seed Dinara Safina enjoyed another French Open breeze on Wednesday, defeating teenage compatriot Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1, 6-1 to set up a last-32 clash with another Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Safina, who didn''t lose a game in her first round mauling of Britain''s Anne Keothavong, took just 55 minutes to dispose of 18-year-old qualifier Diatchenko, the world number 151.

The world number one next faces 17-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, the 27th seed, who reached the last 32 with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over France''s Julie Coin.

Also progressing to the third round were Belarusian ninth seed Victoria Azarenka and Chinese 25th seed Li Na.

Spanish Fernando Verdasco and France''s Gilles Simon moved into last 32 in the French Open tennis championship here on Wednesday.

Eighth seed Verdasco beat Germany''s Philipp Petzschner 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the French Open third round. He will face Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro for a place in the last 16.

Simon, the seventh seed, beat America''s Robert Kendrick 7-5, 6-0, 6-1 to reach the French Open last 32. He will face Romanian 30th seed Victor Hanescu for a place in the fourth round.