Easy does it for Federer, Raonic in French Open first round

Roger Federer breezed by Lukas Lacko in straight sets on Sunday in his French Open first-round match, saying 'It was important for me to attack and stay aggressive' while Milos Raonic topped Nick Nyrgios as well.
Roger Federer won his opener at the 2014 French Open on Sunday. Bertrand Combaldieu / AP
Roger Federer won his opener at the 2014 French Open on Sunday. Bertrand Combaldieu / AP

Roger Federer kicked off his 16th consecutive French Open with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko on Sunday, his first victory since becoming a father of twins for the second time.

The 32-year-old Swiss, who won his only Paris title in 2009, was watched by wife Mirka and older twins Myla and Charlene but not three-week old Lenny and Leo.

Sunday’s triumph was also his 59th at Roland Garros, tying eight-time champion Rafael Nadal as the tournament’s win specialist.

Federer was never troubled by Lacko, the world No 88 who has not won a claycourt match for three years.

Breaks in the fifth and seventh games of the opening set followed by another in the third game of the second put the 17-time major winner in total control.

Federer broke again in the first and fifth games of the third set against the hapless Lacko to seal victory in just 84 minutes, a performance highlighted by 40 winners.

Federer goes on to face either Portugal’s Gastao Elias or Diego Sebastian Schwartzman of Argentina for a place in the last 32.

“It was important for me to attack and stay aggressive,” said Federer. “I also served well.”

Federer was joined in the second round by big-serving Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic who unleashed 27 aces in his 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over teenage Australian wildcard Nick Kyrgios.

Raonic, a semi-finalist in Rome and who made the last eight in Madrid, goes on to face either Lukas Rosol or Jiri Vesely, Czech Davis Cup teammates, in the next round.

Russian 15th seed Mikhail Youzhny needed five sets to see off Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

In the women’s event, Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska carved out a 6-3, 6-0 win over China’s Zhang Shuai, the world No 34.

Radwanska, a quarter-finalist in 2013, will face either French wildcard Mathilde Johansson or Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic for a spot in the last 32.

Radwanska, sporting a vivid, floral-print dress, made heavy work of seeing off Zhang who has now lost all of her four first round matches at Roland Garros.

The first seven games all went against serve until the Pole held for 5-3.

She then swept through the final set in just 21 minutes as Zhang was undone by her 24 unforced errors in the match.

Later Sunday, women’s top seed Serena Williams, who won the 2013 title to add to her 2002 maiden triumph in the French capital, starts her 13th Roland Garros with a clash against home wildcard Alize Lim, the world 138.

However, the American star will not be getting too ahead of herself having been shocked in the first round by another French outsider Virginie Razzano in 2011.

Williams, 32, enjoyed an outstanding 2013 when she posted career highs in match wins (78) and titles (11), including her 16th and 17th major championships at Roland Garros and the US Open.

She also boasts a formidable 53-1 record in Grand Slam openers.

Venus Williams, the 29th seed, starts her 17th Roland Garros with a clash against Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic who wasn’t even three months old when the American made her French Open bow in 1997.

At 33, Williams is the second-oldest player in the draw, and her 57 matches played in Paris is the most among active players. She made her professional debut in 1994 -- two and a half years before Bencic was born.

Bencic, the world No 81, is the second-youngest player in the draw at 17, and is making her French Open debut having won the junior title in 2013.

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Published: May 25, 2014 04:00 AM


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