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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Defending Champs Coast to Victory

PARIS -- Defending champions Thomas Muster and Steffi Graf defeated unseeded challengers in the second round of the French Open on Thursday, though Graf stumbled a bit.


Muster needed only one hour and 24 minutes to subdue France's Gerard Solves 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.


Solves, ranked 171st in the world, could take little from the match and had to be content with saving one match point before Muster, seeded second, put an end to the one-sided affair in which his opponent had only four break points.


Muster, who has yet to lose a set, is sure to meet a promising player in the next round, either Romania's Andrea Voinea, a quarter-finalist last year, or Dutchman Sjeng Schalken, one of the rising players of the season.


If it is any indication of Muster's form compared to last year, Solves managed to win one set against him in the first round in 1995.


"Basically, the French is the fastest clay court event during the year. It is not a disadvantage for a player who plays serve and volley if the weather stays like this," Muster said.


"It's the same speed as in the U.S. Open. The difference lies in running. On hard court you can't slide, here you have to slide and keep your balance," he said.


On Thursday, it is Solves who did most of the running and the Frenchman could hardly find words to express the impression left on him by the reigning champion.


"I feel terrible. His pace was devilish. He did not drop a point, he never makes mistakes. There's nothing to say," he said.


On the other hand Graf, though she largely dominated in her 6-2, 6-2 victory over 54th-ranked Nicole Bradke of Australia, fought to maintain her lead early on in both sets and made 20 unforced errors throughout the match.


"There were two situations where it was 2-2 and I wasn't really playing aggressively," Graf said. "But in the end, I played well."


Monica Seles, co-seeded No. 1 with Graf, eked out a first-set tie breaker to get past 29th-ranked Naoko Sawamatsu of Japan 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.


No. 3 Conchita Martinez of Spain fell behind in the second set before defeating Slovakia's Radka Zrubakova 6-3, 7-5.


Seventh-seeded Kimiko Date of Japan moved ahead with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Tatyana Jecmenica of Yugoslavia. No. 14 Amanda Coetzer of South Africa beat Francesca Lubiani of Italy 6-4, 6-1.


Back on the men's side, fifth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia advancedto the third round by defeating American David Wheaton 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. Ivanisevic served 17 aces and had 15 service winners.


Fourteenth-seeded Marc Rosset of Switzerland downed Czech Jiri Novac 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. Michael Stich, the No. 15 seed, served 15 aces in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 win over Greg Rusedski, the first British player to reach the second round in seven years.


The warm, dry weather was an advantage for the big hitters like Ivanisevic and Stich.


"Court 2 is the fastest clay court I've ever played on in my life," Ivanisevic said. "I think it's good to attack here because it's sunny, the balls are very fast, and it's good for us guys for serving big."


Meanwhile, Pete Sampras, who Wednesday defeated clay-courts specialist Sergi Bruguera, on Thursday was brimming with new-found confidence.


"Of what I've had at Roland Garros, to beat someone of Sergi's capabilities on clay -- he's won here twice before -- it's my best win," Sampras said.


Sampras, who has never made it past the quarterfinals at the French Open, next faces fellow American Todd Martin. The highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw, Martin defeated three-time French Open champion Mats Wilander on Wednesday. (AP, Reuters)


(For other results, see Scorecard.)