French Open 2014: Roger Federer and Serena Williams come through their first-round matches at Roland Garros unscathed
The majestic Swiss wrapped up his victory over Lacko in 84 minutes
Sunday 25 May 2014
Roger Federer spent as little time as possible on court on the opening day of the French Open on Sunday, beating Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-4 6-2 before returning to his parental duties on Mother's Day in Paris.
Serena Williams, the No.1 seed and overwhelming favourite to retain the women's title, needed time to find her rhythm against France's Alize Lim before winning 6-2 6-1. The American's older sister, Venus, also reached the second round.
Watched by his wife, Mirka, and his twin girls, Federer moved gently through the gears against the shaggy-haired Slovakian under grey skies on the Philippe Chatrier show court.
The former champion, who has returned to something close to his best form after a disappointing 2013, admitted a trace of fear before the start of the year's second grand slam.
"I wasn't nervous actually going into the match," said Federer, 32. "It's more just like those hints of fear, maybe yesterday, maybe this morning at one point, just for like five seconds 'Oh, I really hope I don't have to pack my bags today', that kind of feeling."
But he had little to fear from Lacko and by mid-afternoon he was once again in a position to help Mirka look after their newly born twin boys. "Everything is great," Federer said.
Serena, who warmed up for the match against her training partner wearing a blazer suit, committed 23 unforced errors in the first set, allowing the local favourite two break points in the fifth game, but the American always had too much power.
Serena Williams celebrates after her first-round win With the first set under her belt, Serena tightened up her game but relaxed again at the death when she wasted four match points, one with a double fault, before winning on the fifth.
Venus Williams, wearing a self-designed dress that added splashes of colour to a grey day, showed she is still a force at the age of 33 by taking, and returning, all that Belinda Bencic could throw at her in winning 6-4 6-1.
The 17-year-old Bencic, coached by Martina Hingis's mother, traded low, hard blows with the American from the back of the court. But Williams had too much experience for the Swiss and demonstrated that her powers of recovery remain undimmed.
"I'm trying to focus - I've not played a lot in the last couple of months so I have to try to focus," said Venus who could meet Serena in the third round. "It was definitely good to try and get some rhythm."
Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, the 15th seed, recovered from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-0, a feat also accomplished by Czech Radek Stepanek who won 6-7 (8) 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-2 against Facundo Argueello of Argentina.
Sixth seed Tomas Berdych beat Peter Polansky of Canada in straight sets after Milos Raonic and Agnieszka Radwanska shook off the morning chill to ease into the second round.
Poland's Radwanska, the third seed, won 6-3 6-0 after the first seven games against Zhang Shuai went against serve. Canadian Raonic, seeded eighth, beat feisty Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6 (1) 6-3.
Radwanska set the ball rolling on the main Philippe Chatrier show court under overcast skies. Forecasters warn intermittent rain is expected over the early days of the tournament.
Wearing a floral print dress perhaps in anticipation of more spring-like temperatures, Radwanska took a while to get into her rhythm and both women struggled badly with their service.
But the Pole eventually held for 5-3, after saving three break points, and then broke the Chinese to take the set. The second set was a rout, however.
"I think it was a very wet court. I think the courts are not always dry, it's raining every day, so it makes the courts much slower," Radwanska said.
"Every two-set match is great in a two-week tournament. It's important that I spent only one hour on court," added Radwanska who played with a heavily strapped thigh.
She was badly hampered by a knee injury when losing the Indian Wells final to Flavia Pennetta in March.
Another Chinese, Zheng Jie, was among the early losers, going down 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-4 to Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia.
Daniela Hantuchova, another Slovak and seeded 31, came from a set down to beat Jovana Jaksic of Serbia 2-6 6-2 6-4.
Raonic pushed Novak Djokovic in the Rome semi-finals before losing in three sets to the eventual champion and he eased through the first set against Kyrgios.
The eighth seed was broken midway through the second but recovered immediately, leaving his 19-year-old opponent to hurl his racket to the court, shaking his head.
The Australian got increasingly frustrated through the second-set tiebreak, berating himself repeatedly, before Raonic took it 7-1. Raonic served out to win the third set on his third match point.
"I felt very good," said Raonic.
"I was able to do the things I wanted to do. In the first round you go in not knowing exactly how things are going to play out, and I was able to, when it mattered, put forward the right attitude and the right level of tennis."
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