Djokovic Extends Unbeaten Run at French Open; Federer Wins

Serbia's Novak Djokovic
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after winning over Netherland's Thiemo De Bakker in the first round of the French Open. Photographer: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic extended his unbeaten run since the start of the season to 38 straight matches with a win over Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands at the French Open.

Djokovic, a Serb seeded No. 2, won 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, at Roland Garros in Paris to move to the second round, and closer to John McEnroe’s 1984 record of 42 straight victories to start a season. Former champion Roger Federer and women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki also won in straight sets.

Djokovic has won seven titles this season and is trying to be the first man to take the French and Australian titles back-to-back since American Jim Courier in 1992. The 24-year-old Djokovic will take the ATP World Tour’s top spot from Rafael Nadal by reaching the final at Roland Garros. He beat Nadal of Spain in two clay court tournaments leading up to Paris.

“It was a great first match for me in Roland Garros,” Djokovic said at a news conference. “I was being very cautious, because I knew that De Bakker has quality, good serve, can play well on the clay courts.”

Federer, the tournament’s third seed from Switzerland, beat Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Federer, formerly No. 1 in the world, won his lone French Open title in 2009. He hasn’t won a major championship since he extended his men’s record Grand Slam singles haul to 16 at last year’s Australian Open.

“I played well,” Federer said in a courtside interview. “Novak has had a super year, but I’ve had a good year. I feel like I can do something big here.”

Age Gap

Wozniacki of Denmark eased past Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-0, 6-2. The 40-year-old Japanese player competed in her first French Open in 1989, a year before Wozniacki was born. Wozniacki, who is seeking her first major championship, entered Roland Garros with a tournament win in Brussels, her first on clay.

Francesca Schiavone started the defense of her women’s title with a straight-set win over Melanie Oudin of the U.S. Schiavone, the first Italian woman to win one of the four tennis majors, won 6-2, 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier, the tournament’s main arena.

“I’m still shaking a little bit,” Schiavone said at a news conference. “A lot of adrenaline. I felt really happy to be there. That court is fantastic.”

Third seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 6-3, 6-3. Wimbledon semifinalist Petra Kvitova, the No. 9 seed from the Czech Republic, beat Greta Arn of Hungary 6-2, 6-1.

Marion Bartoli, a former Wimbledon runner-up and the No. 11 seed from France, beat Anna Tatishvili of Georgia, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. Russia’s Nadia Petrova, seeded 26th, lost to Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4.

Berdych Ousted

Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych was upset in the first round by French qualifier Stephane Robert, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 9-7. The Czech was seeded sixth in Paris.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion from Argentina who almost had to pull out of the French Open because of a hip injury, defeated Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, the 12th seed, downed Japan’s Go Soeda 7-5, 6-2, 6-4, and Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil Beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5).

Ninth-seeded Gael Monfils of France beat Bjorn Phau of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, while Steve Darcis of Belgium upset No. 22 Michael Llodra of France 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, a semifinalist in 2007, beat Denis Gremelmayr of Germany, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, 6-3. Mardy Fish, the top American man at No. 10, beat Brazil’s Ricardo Mello 6-2, 6-7 (11-13), 6-2, 6-4.

Women’s Seeds

Daniela Hantuchova, the 28th seed, beat Shuai Zhang of China 6-3, 6-3, while Sania Mirza of India beat Kristina Barrois of Germany 6-3, 6-3.

Sara Errani of Italy defeated Christina McHale of the U.S. 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 9-7 and Vesna Dolonts of Russia beat Anne Keothavong of Britain, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the 12th seed from Poland, beat Austria’s Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-1, 6-2. China’s Jie Zheng won over Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3.

Oudin, a quarterfinalist at the 2009 U.S. Open, struggled with her serve against Schiavone, who beat Australia’s Samantha Stosur in last year’s Paris final. Oudin, one of nine American women in the draw, is now 1-9 on clay courts this year. The American has dropped to No. 88 in the WTA rankings, after a career-best No. 31 in April 2010.

“I think that the court here definitely bounces higher than some of the other courts,” Oudin told reporters. “That helps her a ton. I mean, she is serving well, she’s moving well, she pretty much doesn’t have a weakness on the clay, I don’t think.”

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