Nadal's 55th clay win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Rafael Nadal registered his 55th straight win on clay court as he beat Kevin Kim 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round of the French Open on Friday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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The biggest excitement in Rafael Nadal's latest French Open victory came when he took off his shoe. The defending champion caused a stir when he received treatment on his right foot during a changeover, but the trainer's visit was brief and Nadal went on to beat American Kevin Kim 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round on Friday. Nadal trailed 2-1 in the third set when he requested the trainer, but his movement appeared unimpeded en route to his 55th consecutive win on clay, extending his open era record. When he improved to 9-0 at Roland Garros, he walked to the net with a smile, then hopped into a celebratory uppercut. The match was one of 10 postponed a day when rain backed up the schedule. Eighth-seed James Blake rallied past clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Blake is the lone American left in the men's draw. Blake trailed when the match was suspended after one set Thursday night, and overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third set to take the lead. He reached the third round for the first time in four tries. In a third-round, center-court showdown between former champions, No. 10 Gaston Gaudio beat No. 24 Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (7). Gaudio had lost five consecutive matches against Ferrero on clay. Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters both won after their second-round matches were delayed a day. Hingis overcame a brief lapse in the second set and beat Zuzana Ondraskova 6-1, 6-3 in 49 minutes. A five-time Grand Slam champion, the No. 12-seeded Hingis is mounting a comeback from injuries and is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2001. It's the only major event she has yet to win. Clijsters, seeded second, beat Conchita Martinez Granados 6-0, 6-3 in 55 minutes. No. 7 Patty Schnyder rallied past Julia Vakulenko 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. Jamea Jackson lost to No. 13 Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-1, leaving two Americans in the women's draw. No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Li Na 6-3, 7-6 (4). In an all-Italian matchup, No. 9 Francesca Schiavone edged No. 17 Flavia Pennetta 4-6, 6-1, 9-7. No. 14 Dinara Safina eliminated No. 24 Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 6-4. On the men's side, No. 15 David Ferrer beat 2005 Wimbledon junior champion Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. No. 28 Fernando Verdasco lost to Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. (AP)

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