Federer begins Paris title defence with easy win

Monday, May 24, 2010

PARIS - Roger Federer dusted Australian Peter Luczak 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 Monday in a dominating start to his title defence at the French Open as the Swiss bids for a first clay title this season.

For only the second time in nine years, Federer enters Roland Garros without having won a clay court tournament. He came close this month in Madrid, where he lost that final to Rafael Nadal, dominator on the red clay in 2010.

Federer put in a straightforward performance in summery 30 Celsius heat and next faces Colombian Alejandro Falla.

“It’s super to return here after a year away from the 2009 final,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion. “I feel pressure, but that is normal. I played a super match, I’m very content.”

“The first set was tough, it was hot, the ball flew and was a bit tough to control. He served well but so did I. Once I got the first set, I was calm straight through to the end.”

The durable Swiss is competing in his 42nd straight game in a Grand Slam tournament, good enough for fifth in the all-time list of longest uninterrupted runs at the majors.

If he keeps up his pace, the 28-year-old will equal Pete Sampras’s record of 284 weeks at number one when the rankings are released the day after the June 6 Paris final.

Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka also earned an impeccable start to his fortnight, hammering Czech Jan Hajek 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. Tomas Berdych, the 15th seed, got a Czech win as he beat Jorge Aguilar of Chile 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-1.

“I’m very happy with the way the match went, it was the ideal way to begin,” said Wawrinka. “I felt well right from the beginning. Winning so easily against Hajek, who’s a good player, is very rewarding. It’s the perfect beginning.”

Daniel Gimeno-Traver spoilt Dmitry Tursunov’s first match since the US Open nine months ago as the Russian returned after various injuries to sustain a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 thrashing.

American John Isner kept up his improvement on the alien surface with a defeat of Kazhak Andrey Golubev, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, while compatriot Taylor Dent beat veteran Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

In the women’s draw, third seed Caroline Wozniacki played through a nagging ankle problem to advance into the second round over Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-0, 6-3.

The Dane said that she is forced to carry on with the problem due to tough WTA rules on top players missing events.

“It’s not just a fine, it’s also commitment tournaments, zero pointers,” she said.

“Maybe it would have been better if I could have taken a few weeks off, but those are the rules, and I did what I had to do.”

China’s 11th seed Li Na started with a win over Kristina Mladenovic of France, 7-5, 6-3. Lucie Safarova spoiled yet another injury return for Australian Jelena Dokic, playing only her fifth Tour-level event of the season, 6-2, 6-2.

But US Open quarter-finalist Melanie Oudin continued to disappoint, going down to Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-5, 6-2.

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