PARIS — One night made the difference for two Americans at the French Open.
It worked to James Blake's advantage. But extra time meant the opposite for Jamea Jackson.
And the way second-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain is playing, all the time in the world probably wouldn't have made any difference for Kevin Kim of Newport Coast, who was beaten by the defending champion, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, on Friday.
"Thinking about it in the match, it felt like you're in the Sahara and you just see the hills and there's no ending," said Kim, a "lucky loser" who lost in qualifying but got into the draw because of player withdrawals.
The second-round match, which lasted nearly two hours, was Nadal's 55th consecutive victory on clay, and Kim was asked how far Nadal could extend the streak.
"You never know, he might wake up with a bad neck one day," he said, smiling. "It's pretty much on his own terms, his mind-set. [Roger] Federer had match points against him."
Blake has played Nadal twice and won both times -- at last year's U.S. Open and this year at Indian Wells -- but neither was on clay. They are in the same quarter of the draw, and both play third-round matches today, having fallen behind schedule because of inclement weather and darkness Thursday. Nadal never got on the court that day; Blake did, and lost a first-set tiebreaker against Nicolas Almagro of Spain before it was called.
Jackson split sets with No. 13 Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany before it became too dark to play Thursday. It was a rematch of their Fed Cup duel in April, when Jackson shocked Groenefeld, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
This time was different. Groenefeld took round two, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-1.
"She got off to a really good early start [Friday], and I wasn't able to catch up," Jackson said. "She served well the entire match.
The wet, heavy conditions of Thursday gave way to sunshine Friday, and the eighth-seeded Blake rebounded strongly to win, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, rallying from a service break down in the third. Though Almagro, 20, has won 19 matches on clay in 2006, he has never been to the third round of a Grand Slam.
It was one of Blake's best performances on clay, one he ranked just behind beating Carlos Moya of Spain earlier this year in Hamburg, Germany.
With Kim's departure, Blake holds a distinction in Paris.
"I don't really think about it on the court that I'm the only American [male] left or anything like that," he said. "But I have to prove [commentator] Brad Gilbert right. He said there's going to be an American in the second week. I've got to make sure he's not wrong for the first time ever."
Of course, Gilbert could have been talking about the women's side. Still alive is 11th-seeded Venus Williams, who defeated of Karolina Sprem of Croatia, 7-5, 6-3, in the third round.
She spoke about the dearth of Americans at the French Open. The only other U.S. woman left in the draw is Shenay Perry, who will play Gisela Dulko of Argentina today in the third round.
"When I do give a little thought to it, it's a little bit lonely," Williams said. "You know, [I'm] used to having Serena [Williams] here or Lindsay [Davenport] or Andre [Agassi] or maybe Andy [Roddick], Jennifer [Capriati] when she was healthy. So it is a little strange, yes."
At a glance
Highlights from Friday at the French Open:
* Top men's seeded winners: No. 1 Roger Federer, No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 3 David Nalbandian, No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 7 Tommy Robredo, No. 8 James Blake, No. 10 Gaston Gaudio, No. 12 Mario Ancic.
* Men's seeded losers: No. 13 Nicolas Kiefer (quit with wrist injury), No. 24 Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 28 Fernando Verdasco, No. 30 Carlos Moya, No. 31 Dmitry Tursunov, No. 32 Nicolas Massu.
* Top women's seeded winners: No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 2 Kim Clijsters, No. 4 Maria Sharapova, No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 7 Patty Schnyder, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova.
* Women's seeded losers: No. 17 Flavia Pennetta, No. 24 Katarina Srebotnik.
TODAY'S FEATURED MATCHES
* Paul-Henri Mathieu (29), France, vs. Rafael Nadal (2), Spain.
* James Blake (8) vs. Gael Monfils (25), France.
* Lleyton Hewitt (14), Australia, vs. Dominik Hrbaty (22), Slovakia.
* Daniela Hantuchova (15), Slovakia, vs. Nathalie Dechy (21), France.
* Anabel Medina Garrigues (26), Spain, vs. Kim Clijsters (2), Belgium.