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Kim is Nadal's latest victim on clay

PARIS -- 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 asked for a trainer during a changeover, but Nadal merely was bothered by the tape on his right foot and he went on to beat Kevin Kim, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, yesterday.

Nadal moved into the third round with his 55th consecutive win on clay, extending his Open era record. Among those impressed was Kim, an American ranked 97th.

``It felt like you're in the Sahara and you just see the hills and there's no ending," Kim said. ``I was just running a lot to grab whatever points I can get."

Their match was one of 10 postponed or suspended Thursday when rain backed up the schedule.

Nadal advanced unimpeded after calling for a trainer trailing, 2-1, in the third set. The Spaniard was sidelined for three months in 2004 by an injury to his left ankle.

In the first round, he broke the Open-era record he shared with Guillermo Vilas for the longest clay-court winning streak, and he's now 9-0 at Roland Garros.

Martina Hingis, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2001, overcame a brief lapse in the second set and beat Zuzana Ondraskova, 6-1, 6-3, in 49 minutes.

``I really played very well," Hingis said. ``Served well, moved well, everything. It all is coming together again."

A five-time Grand Slam champion, the No. 12-seeded Hingis is mounting a comeback from injuries. The French Open is the only major she has yet to win.

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