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Nadal plays unseeded Mayer as defense gathers pace

By Robert Woodward

PARIS (Reuters) - Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal’s trouble-free passage through the early rounds at the French Open is expected to continue against unseeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the third round on Saturday.

Nadal has not dropped a set to Mayer, ranked 65 in the world, in their two contests. They meet in the second game on the Philippe Chatrier show court after fifth seed Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011, plays 27th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, champion here in 2009.

Andy Murray, Wimbledon champion last year and seventh seed, takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, the 28th seed, in the final match on court Suzanne Lenglen. They have met only once on clay, a surface on which Murray has struggled, in 2010 in Monte Carlo, when the German won easily.

The home fans will have 12th seed Richard Gasquet to support, on Philippe Chatrier, against Fernando Verdasco of Spain, the 24th seed, and Gael Monfils (23) plays volatile Fabio Fognini of Italy (14) in the third match on Suzanne Lenglen.

Their second-round meeting in 2010 was one of the most memorable matches at Roland Garros in recent years with Fognini emerging triumphant 9-7 in the fifth set.

(Reporting by Robert Woodward; Editing by Tom Hayward)