Former world No. 1 Roger Federer kicked off his 2011 French Open campaign in style on Monday, dismissing a potentially tough opponent in Spaniard Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3).
“I feel relieved when I look at the score or the match after playing three tiebreaks in Madrid against him,” Federer said of his fellow 29 year old. “It’s definitely slower than Madrid. So I think Feliciano was maybe not getting the free points he was looking and hoping for. The important thing from my side was to be solid in my own serve, which I was all the way through from start to finish, and I thought I played a good match.”
Joining the No. 3-seeded Swiss in the second round on Monday were No. 2 Novak Djokovic topping Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker, dropping only six games; No. 9 Gael “Force” Monfils beating German Bjorn Phau in four; and No. 10 Mardy Fish defeating Brazilian Ricardo Mello in four.
“It was a great first match for me at Roland Garros,” Djokovic said after extending his win streak to 40 matches. “I was serving, really, really serving and being very aggressive. Pressure is always there, over the years you learn how to deal with it. I know there is a lot of expectation because of the streak I have but I’m really happy the way I’m handling things right now on and off the court.”
Frenchman Stephane Robert pulled the biggest upset of the day, ousting No. 6 Tomas Berdych 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 9-7.
“No, I was not struggling physically,” Berdych said after his collapse from two sets up. “He lost the first two sets. I was playing quite solid then. But he’s one of these guys who really likes to play here. I cannot imagine somebody who can play tennis like this can be out of Top 100, but that’s the sport…It’s tough.”
Other upsets on the day were Dutchman Steve Darcis over No. 22 Michael Llodra in four, and German Michael Berrer topping No. 26-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic in four.
Among the lower notable seeds advancing were No. 13 Richard Gasquet over Radek “The Worm” Stepanek 6-0 in the third, and No. 25 Juan Martin del Potro winning the battle of big men against unseeded “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic in four.
“It’s good to be part of a small group of favorites,” said del Potro, who is trying to shrug off a hip injury. “Yet I am very much aware of my present condition. I need to take a rest. I need to recover from a physical standpoint. This is the most important.”
Bernard Tomic, Dustin Brown, Frank Dancevic, Pablo Cuevas and Tommy Haas were among other notable un-seeds booking plane tickets.
A number of high-profile matches are on tap for Tuesday in Roland Garros, including (1) Rafael Nadal vs. John Isner, American “Iron” Mike Russell vs. (18) Gilles Simon, Juan Monaco vs. (16) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, (24) Sam Querrey vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Dmitry Tursunov vs. Xavier “X-Man” Malisse.
Wozniacki Crushes; Sharapova, Ivanovic On Court Tuesday at French Open
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki looked in the mood to make a statement that perhaps the 2011 French Open could be her first career Grand Slam title after brutalizing Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-2.
Despite a heavily-strapped thigh, Wozniacki hit through Date-Krumm, who stretched the Dane to three sets in their previous meeting at Wimbledon in 2009.
“The last time I played Kimiko it was a bit of a longer match, at Wimbledon,” Wozniacki said. “She plays a different kind of tennis so it was difficult to play as I wanted to. But a win is a win, so I’m happy to be through to the next round. Physically, I’m feeling good and ready to play this tournament.”
American Melanie Oudin was another player on the wrong end of the beating stick — happy to find herself up an early break on defending Roland Garros champ Francesca Schiavone — then not so happy when she was in the end pummeled 6-2, 6-0 by the Italian.
“I’m still shaking a little bit,” the 30-year-old Schiavone said after the match. “A lot of adrenaline. I felt really happy to be [out] there.”
Other Top 10 winners advancing on the day were (3) Vera Zvonareva and (9) Petra Kvitova, both in straight sets.
On the upset tip were Aussie Anastasia Rodionova, toppling No. 26 seed Nadia Petrova after dropping the first set, and Taipei qualifier Chan Yung-Jan ousting No. 31 Klara Zakopalova in straights. Qualifiers had their day on Monday, with five others advancing in Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives, Brit Heather Watson, German Sabine Lisicki, Belarus’ Olga Govortsova, and Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak.
“It is never easy to play seeded players, we play doubles now and I know her quite well,” Rodionova said of Petrova. “We practice quite a bit and that was really good for me. I knew some of her weak side and some of her good side and I think that was an advantage for me.”
Tuesday’s matches to look for include (7) Maria Sharapova vs. Mirjana Lucic, (20) Ana Ivanovic vs. Johanna Larsson, (2) Kim Clijsters vs. Anastasiya Yakimova, and American qualifier Sloane Stephens vs. Brit Elena Baltacha.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Novak Djokovic has won 40 consecutive matches. The last guy to beat the Serb was Roger Federer…Roger Federer has won 32 straight Grand Slam
first round matches…Not playing the French Open, Serena Williams was seated courtside Sunday night for the Miami Heat’s game-three win over
the Chicago Bulls…Which choke was better, Christina McHale’s 5-0 blown third-set lead or Coco Vandeweghe’s fail to serve out the first set at
5-4, or in the tiebreak leading 5-2? Well, that’s easy…If Tomas Berdych is feeling the “points to defend” pressure now, wait until Wimbledon…Will Ernests Gulbis be a direct entrant in the French Open next year? Doesn’t look promising…How soon will Bethanie Mattek-Sands be the highest-ranking American?…Speaking of Americans, hey look, two are playing on center court on Tuesday…Will the French Open return to the traditional Monday start once the roof is built in 2016?…Rafael Nadal has never lost to a player over 6’7″ tall, we don’t think…Juan Martin Del Potro is undefeated this clay season…The French Open switched from Dunlop balls to Babolat balls. A move that’s not going well with the players…Ryan Harrison will take the spot of the next man, if any, to withdraw Tuesday…Look it up for yourself, Eric Prodon really did beat Roger Federer, in juniors…First round prize money is in excess of $20,000 (USD)…Rain is expected toward the end of the week, until then nice weather…Boris Becker says he knows about winning streaks, and tells Reuters that Novak Djokovic is feeling invincible: “He will be feeling invincible at the moment…I think the best run I had was something like 20 matches during the indoor season…You get into such a rhythm and the same situations start to repeat themselves and you know that you came through it one the previous occasion. The other thing is that it changes the psychology of the players opposing you. They already have doubts when they walk on to the court and that’s a huge thing in your favor. Having that is like having another shot in your locker.” — We think he’s probably feeling…tired…What was more amazing on Monday at the French, a French qualifier beating Tomas Berdych in five, or the size of Sania Mirza’s wedding ring? If that thing had a door you could rent it out as an apartment in India…Kim Clijsters recounting the wedding dance frenzy that resulted in her injuring her foot and missing the claycourt run-up to the French Open: “I was in bare feet, because I was wearing high heels, and I couldn’t dance in my high heels. So then I landed on another girl’s foot, and I twisted my ankle. Then, while I’m walking off, limping, somebody stepped on the outside of my small toe, as well, and I still have a problem there.”
FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE – TUESDAY
Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start
Virginie Razzano(FRA) vs. Jarmila Gajdosova(AUS)
Maria Sharapova(RUS) vs. Mirjana Lucic(CRO)
Rafael Nadal(ESP) vs. John Isner(USA)
Michael Russell(USA) vs. Gilles Simon(FRA)
Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start
Andy Murray(GBR) vs. Eric Prodon(FRA)
Johanna Larsson(SWE) vs. Ana Ivanovic(SRB)
Benjamin Becker(GER) vs. Robin Soderling(SWE)
Anastasiya Yakimova(BLR) vs. Kim Clijsters(BEL)
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