Paris:Four-time champion Rafael Nadal won in straight sets but still needed nearly 2 1/2 hours to eliminate feisty Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.
Nadal won the majority of the many grinding baseline rallies against Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam champion. It's the fourth time in the past five years the Australian has lost to Nadal at Roland Garros.
"Today it was a good test against Lleyton," Nadal said. "When I was younger, I watched him on TV. He was one of my idols."
Nadal's fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 champion, departed after losing 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 to unseeded Robby Ginepri.
Ginepri became the only remaining American in the men's draw when sixth-seeded Andy Roddick lost to Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Roddick threw rackets and argued with the umpire, but the fits of temper failed to produce a turnaround against an opponent ranked 114th playing for the first time in the third round of a Grand Slam event.
No. 3-seeded Novak Djokovic, a two-time semifinalist, beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. No. 7 Fernando Verdasco defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-4, but compatriot and No. 9 David Ferrer lost to No. 22 Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4, 6-0, 7-6 (1).
The third-round showdown between four-time champion Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova was suspended because of darkness at one set apiece. Henin led 6-2, but her streak of 40 consecutive sets won at Roland Garros ended when Sharapova took the second set, 6-3.
Serena Williams overcame a second-set slump and a cold to beat 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.
Williams lost five games in a row in the second set and then needed a trainer to come out during a changeover to check her temperature and give her pills before a third-set surge.
The top-ranked Williams appeared in danger when she fell behind 5-love in the second set and summoned the trainer.
"Just ran out of a little energy out there," she said, "just fighting a cold and fighting sickness."
Soon Williams' court movement improved, her strokes steadied and she advanced to the fourth round.
"Doesn't matter the score, especially against her," said Pavlyuchenkova, a three-time Grand Slam champion in juniors. "She's a good fighter. After she beat me she has to win the tournament. I really hope so."
The seesaw victory assured Williams of retaining the No. 1 ranking after the tournament.
Other winners included Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and wild card Jarmila Groth of Australia, with both advancing to the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time. No. 18-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel and No. 23 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia also won.
In the completion of suspended matches, Russians Mikhail Youzhny and Nadia Petrova won. Youzhny, seeded 11th, defeated Viktor Troicki 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-3. Petrova, seeded 19th, edged No. 15 Aravane Rezai of France, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 10-8.
Roddick was always on the defensive against Gabashvili, who even had the more dominating serve, with a 9-4 edge in aces. Roddick never broke and lost serve four times.
"I got outplayed from the first ball," he said.
Roddick's mood was sour almost from the start. During a first-set changeover, he threw two wrapped rackets because he was angry about the way they had been strung.
During another changeover three games from the end, he engaged in a long, heated discussion with the umpire about the tarps behind the baseline. They were wet from rain, and balls rolling into them became heavy.
"It's something that I've been pretty adamant about complaining about behind closed doors for a long time," Roddick said. "I don't think that's something that needs to happen all the time."
In women's play, Peer won 7-6 (7), 6-2 against No. 13 Marion Bartoli, the last remaining French woman. Hantuchova beat No. 16 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 7-5, 6-3. Shvedova defeated No. 28 Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.
Groth, ranked 107th, defeated fellow Australian Anastasia Rodionova 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Groth's husband was happy to get the news back home by telephone.
"I just woke him up," she said. "He was real angry in the beginning, but then he was very happy for me. And then he was kind of sad actually that he can't be here to watch my success."