Serena Williams Joins Federer in French Open Third Round

Former winners Roger Federer and Serena Williams rushed past lower-ranked opponents into the third round of the French Open.

Federer, the 2009 champion, beat Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 in 82 minutes yesterday on Court Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros. It was the second short match in a row for the second-seeded Swiss, who won his opener in 51 minutes.

Federer said he’s still motivated after winning a men’s record 17 Grand Slam singles titles. The 31-year-old said he may get tested in his next round, against No. 30 seed Julien Benneteau. The Frenchman took him to five sets in the third round of Wimbledon last year.

“I think I’m playing okay,” Federer told reporters after hitting 54 winners to 14 by his opponent. “Definitely think the next match is going to be sort of the big test for me to see exactly where I stand.”

Shortly after on the main Court Philippe Chatrier, the 31-year-old Williams of the U.S. took just over an hour to defeat French wild-card Caroline Garcia, 6-1, 6-2. Williams, the 2002 champion, has only dropped four games in two matches in Paris. Yesterday’s victory extended her winning run on clay to 26.

“It’s important to win easily, but I also have to play well,” said Williams, who addressed the crowd in French for a second time this week. “If I continue to do that, I’ll win Roland Garros.”

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays Argentina’s Guido Pella today, when No. 3 Rafael Nadal of Spain faces Slovakia’s Martin Klizan. Defending women’s champion Maria Sharapova of Russia meets Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and former winner Li Na of China plays Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S.

Azarenka Underway

Earlier yesterday, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka finally got her tournament under way with a victory.

Azarenka, the No. 3 seed from Belarus, beat Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-4 to open Day 4 play. The first-round match was one of 14 postponed two days ago because of rain.

“I felt like I’m one of the last ones to start,” Azarenka said at a press conference. “It was a long wait but I think performance-wise it was a good match.”

Unseeded Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia upset former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-6, 6-3 in a second-round match. At No. 10, Wozniacki is the highest-seeded woman to lose so far.

“I didn’t get to play the game I wanted to,” Wozniacki, who lost four straight opening-round matches before the tournament, told reporters. “Didn’t get her to move enough. Then all of a sudden you’re in trouble.”

Jovanovski will next play former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, who beat Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets yesterday.

No. 4 Seeds

Fourth seeds Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and David Ferrer of Spain both won in straight sets to reach the third round. Radwanska beat Mallory Burdette of the U.S. 6-3, 6-2 and Ferrer defeated fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

All 15 men’s seeds in action yesterday advanced.

No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, No. 10 Marin Cilic of Croatia and No. 11 Nicolas Almagro of Spain won second-round matches in straight sets, while No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia was a straight-sets victor in his opening match.

On the women’s side, seventh-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and No. 12 Maria Kirilenko of Russia joined Azarenka in advancing to the second round, while No. 23 Klara Zakopalova and No. 25 Lucie Safarova were beaten.

Last year’s runner-up Sara Errani, the fifth seed from Italy, beat Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in straight sets to move to the third round. Other second-round women’s winners included No. 8 Angelique Kerber of Germany, No. 20 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and No. 29 Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S.

Women’s Upsets

In a pair of first-round upsets, Zakopalova of the Czech Republic lost to unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi, while American Jamie Hampton knocked out Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland beat Britain’s Heather Watson in a three-set first-round match. With U.S. Open champion Andy Murray injured, Watson’s loss leaves no Britons in the second round at Roland Garros for the first time since 2007.

Among the other men’s second-round winners yesterday were No. 14 Milos Raonic of Canada and France’s 15th seed Gilles Simon. Sam Querrey, the highest seeded American man at No. 18, beat Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic.

Gael Monfils overcame Latvian Ernests Gulbis to move into the third round in four sets. Monfils, a Frenchman coming back from a knee injury, upset No. 5 Tomas Berdych in his opening match in five sets.

Yannick Noah was the last Frenchman to win Roland Garros, 30 years go.

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