Federer, Djokovic enter 2nd round in French Open
PARIS ROGER Federer and Novak Djokovic made efficient starts at the French Open on Monday, with both men keen on polishing their clay games to a lustre as the rounds get more challenging.
Djokovic is a man on a mission as he bids to become the third man to hold all Major at the same time and the first in 43 years. The Serb began with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Italy’s Potito Starace, then shared postmatch thoughts in French during the on-court interview.
Federer, playing in the 50th straight Grand Slam event, nailed his 48th straight German opponent in a row as he overcame a few serving niggles to beat Tobias Kamke 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 on the Lenglen showcourt. This was his 233rd win which equalled American Jimmy Connors’ record.
“They’re never easy, those first rounds,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who came back from 4-2 down in the second set. “The last thing you want is to go down a set or get in a tough situation.
“I was able to stay ahead in the first set, but I had ups and downs on my serve. Overall I’m happy I’m through. I missed a few too many shots, but I was always in the lead and could afford to do those.
I’m happy with today’s match.” After the quick elimination of countryman Andy Roddick the day before, US 10th seed John Isner set about reversing the poor record of his countrymen in Paris with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva.
In 2011, only two of eight US players reached the second round at Roland Garros.
With Jesse Levine’s 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Benjamin Becker, that record looked to be improving.
Two matches failed to finish, as Slovak Martin Klizan slugged Frank Dancevic 4-0 as the Canadian, who had to be carried off court with a back injury in April, lasted less than half an hour in Paris.
Florent Serra advanced to the second round as Spanish 15th seed Feliciano Lopez quit while trailing 5-0 with an abdominal injury he first suffered at the weekend.
Former number one Lleyton Hewitt lost his first match since February after toe surgery, But even a 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 defeat by Blaz Kavcic in almost four hours could not dent Hewitt’s enthusiasm to be back on court at age 31.
“I had to start somewhere, I’m sure tomorrow I’ll pull up pretty sore. It was good for a lot reasons to go out there and play. It lasted nearly four hours and I physically felt fine,” he said.
“It’s pretty amazing too when you haven’t played any matches on this surface.” Romanian Adrian Ungur stunned Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Women’s top seed Victoria Azarenka flirted with disaster, rallying from a set and 4-0 down against potential Italian spoiler Alberta Brianti 6-7 (6- 8), 6-4, 6-2.
Since women began playing the event in the 1920s, no top seed has ever lost her opening match. Nazarene cut it extremely close.
“Sometimes I felt it was not my day, sometimes I thought I still have a chance,” she said of her worries at the depths of the second set. “Sometimes it was like, forget it. I don’t want to do it.
“But the important thing in that really miserable moment: I stayed strong and just went for my shots. That shows a little bit of not losing courage.” Holder Li Na began her title defence with a comfortable win against Romanian Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-1.
American Bethanie Mattek- Sands piled on the problems for German women as she put out 12th seed Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3. There was also a loss for Mona Barthel, also beaten by an American.