The baseline powerhouse Russian has won her last eleven matches in a row. And after taking WTA Tour claycourt titles at Rome and Madrid earlier this month, Safina enters Paris determined to attempt a justification of her top ranking by winning her first grand slam title.
Safina lost to the world number two Serena Williams of the USA in straight sets at both the US Open in September and the Australian Open in January.
Particularly embarrassing for the Russian was her 6-0, 6-3 Melbourne collapse to Williams.
Second on the Chatrier Court was the men's top seed Nadal, who defeated the 97th ranked Marcos Daniel of Brazil 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to open his bid for his fifth consecutive French Open title.
With today's win, Nadal went an astounding 29-0 in Paris to break the men's tournament record for the most consecutive wins which was previously held by Bjorn Borg of Sweden. Borg took 28 straight wins from 1978-1981.
The Spaniard today also equaled the overall tournament record for the most consecutive match wins. The American and claycourt queen Chris Evert also won 29 matches in a row at the French Open beginning in 1974.
Nadal began this claycourt season in his normal outstanding fashion, taking ATP Tour titles at Monaco, Barcelona and Rome. However in his final French Open tune-up tournament at Madrid, the Spaniard suffered a 6-4, 6-4 final round upset to the second ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Also winning in other first round play was the second seeded Federer and the sixth seeded Andy Roddick of the USA. In women's action, the third seed Venus Williams of the USA and the 13th seeded Marion Bartoli of France both recorded three set wins.