Rafa back on centre stage, Verdasco may face crowd

Paris: Play on Court Philippe Chatrier will have a familiar feel on Thursday with Rafa Nadal and Justine Henin, holders of eight French Open singles crowns, bidding to move into the third round.

Nadal returns to the stadium where 12 months ago he suffered the only defeat of his Roland Garros career when he takes on Argentina`s Horacio Zeballos in a match sure to be dominated by brutal baseline exchanges.

Henin, mobbed by eager children seeking autographs at Roland Garros on Wednesday, will hope her game is a little more fine-tuned after a rusty first round when she plays Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic.

Women`s top seed Serena Williams, the 2002 champion, will be on Court Suzanne Lenglen where she takes on Germany`s Julia Goerges for a place in the last 16.

Men`s seeds Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick also feature on the venue`s second principal court.

Spain`s Fernando Verdasco may not receive the warmest of welcomes from the French crowd when he takes on home hope Florent Serra on the main court.

The seventh seed hurled profanities at the Nice crowd when losing the final to Richard Gasquet on Saturday. He later issued an apology but the Roland Garros spectators will be firmly behind his opponent.

With rain curtailing much of Wednesday`s play, several matches will be carried over including British fourth seed Andy Murray`s second-round clash with Argentina`s Juan Ignacio Chela.

Bureau Report


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