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Rediff.com  » Sports » French Open: Federer equals another record with first-round win

French Open: Federer equals another record with first-round win

Last updated on: May 28, 2012 22:11 IST

Roger Federer netted a record-equalling 233rd Grand Slam victory when he beat German Tobias Kamke 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

The third-seeded Swiss matched Jimmy Connors's professional era (since 1968) mark despite hitting some wayward shots against the World No. 78 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Roger FedererIt was also Federer's 50th singles match win at Roland Garros.

Federer, looking to secure a record-breaking 17th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, cantered through the first set and broke decisively in the 11th game of the second, wrapping it up with a forehand winner in less than two hours.

Next up for the former World No. 1 is either Argentine David Nalbandian or Adrian Ungur of Romania.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic showed great composure to beat Italian Potito Starace 7-6, 6-3, 6-1 and reach the second round.

The Serbian was dragged into a first-set tiebreak, which he won 7-3, before gradually outpacing the world number 97 as he bids to become the first man in 43 years to hold all four Grand Slams simultaneously.

Starace put up a decent fight in the opening set and was only broken in the fifth game of the second before Djokovic, who did not face a single break point throughout, found his stride on a sundrenched Court Philippe Chatrier and raced home in just over two hours.

Djokovic next faces Blaz Kavcic after the Slovenian knocked out former world number one Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.

Li starts title defence with easy win

Li Na began the defence of her French Open title with an easy win on Monday, defeating Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-1 in 58 minutes.

China's Li, who became the first player from an Asian nation to take a grand slam singles title when she won at Roland Garros last year, was never challenged by the 43rd-ranked Cirstea.

In front of stands that were barely half-full on Philippe Chatrier Court, Li, who played with her right knee strapped up, allowed the Romanian few chances and few points.

Li said she was still upset about losing to Russian Maria Sharapova in a dramatic and rain-interrupted Italian Open final eight days ago.

"After that final I told everyone: 'Don't talk to me about tennis for three days'," the World No. 7 said.

Azarenka has narrow escape in first round

Victoria Azarenka narrowly escaped becoming the first women's top seed to lose in the first round of the French Open when she recovered from losing the opening set to beat Italian Alberta Brianti 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday.

Azarenka, 10 years younger and 104 ranking places higher than her opponent, was in patchy form, giving away breaks with double faults and errors and screaming in anguish at her own mistakes.

After losing the first-set tiebreak 6-8, the Belarussian World No. 1 found herself five points from defeat as she was 0-4 and break point down in the second set.

However, just when it seemed that Brianti was on the verge of winning her first match at Roland Garros in five appearances, Azarenka put the Italian under pressure in a long fifth game.

The Australian Open champion clawed her way back, then broke to love in the eighth game of the third set to take victory in two hours 16 minutes.

Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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