Novak Djokovic breezed into the second round of the French Open while Roger Federer equalled Jimmy Connors’ record of Grand Slam match wins at Roland Garros
Current Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion Djokovic kicked off his bid to become only the third man to hold all four majors at the same time with a 7-6(3) 6-3 6-1 win over Italy’s Potito Starace.
The world No 1 looked a bit flustered in the opening set, but he eventually found a couple of extra gears to beat the world No 98 at Court Philippe Chatrier.
“Potito is a specialist on this surface but I played well considering it was the first match at this year’s Roland Garros,” said Djokovic, who conducted his on-court interview in French.
“I hope to go on and get good results, but it’s too early to talk about the final.”
Next up for the Serb is a second-round clash against Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic, who put out former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt 7-6(2) 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3.
Federer also enjoyed a comfortable opening win as he beat Tobias Kamke 6-2 7-5 6-3 to draw level with Connors’ 30-year-old record of 233 Grand Slam match wins. The victory was also his 50th against 12 losses at Roland Garros.
“It’s a big record, because that was longevity. Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time, and was around for 20 years,” said Federer, who will take on Adrian Ungur next after the Romanian beat David Nalbandian 6-3 5-7 6-4 7-5.
“I have been so successful for such a long time and to already tie that record which is 30 years old is pretty incredible.”
Tenth seed John Isner claimed a straightforward 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over Rogerio Dutra Silva but 15th seed Feliciano Lopez is out.
The Spaniard lost the first five games against France’s Florent Serra before pulling out with a stomach strain.
Lopez’s compatriot Marcel Granollers, seeded 20th, beat Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-2 3-6 6-3 6-4.
Kevin Anderson, the No 31 seed, is through after a tough five-set encounter against Rui Machado. The match was stopped at 7-7 in the fifth set on Sunday evening and Anderson finally wrapped up the game 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 4-6 6-1 11-9.
Ernests Gulbis was a first-round loser after losing 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 2-6 6-4 against Mikhail Kukushkin.