Paris, May 30
The top-seeded players had early starts at the French Open on Wednesday, and Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka made it to the third round without a problem.
Djokovic was first up on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and he was barely troubled by Blaz Kavcic, winning 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 for his 23rd straight Grand Slam victory.
In the main stadium at Roland Garros, Azarenka defeated Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany 6-1, 6-1 — two days after struggling to win her opening match.
Roger Federer dropped a set before earning his record-breaking 234th Grand Slam match victory to reach the third round.
Federer eliminated 92nd-ranked Adrian Ungur of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 Wednesday to break a tie with Jimmy Connors for most career wins at major tournaments in the Open era, which began in 1968.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion is now 234-35 in tennis’ top four tournaments, an .870 winning percentage.
Ungur, meanwhile, is 1-1; the French Open was his Grand Slam debut. Seeded third this year at Roland Garros, where he won the 2009 title, Federer is on course for a semifinal showdown against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who won in straight sets Wednesday.
It was Federer that ended Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak last year, beating the Serb in the semifinals at Roland Garros. If Djokovic wins the French Open title this year, it will be his fourth straight Grand Slam title, and his first at Roland Garros.
Azarenka, who took over the No. 1 ranking after winning the Australian Open, easily advanced against Pfizenmaier on Court Philippe Chatrier.
In the first round, Azarenka struggled early before winning 12 of the final 14 games to advance. She committed 60 unforced errors in that opening match, but brought that number down to only 11 on Wednesday.
Azarenka reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last year, matching her best performance at the clay-court Grand Slam. U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur also advanced, beating Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4.
On Tuesday, Serena Williams showed that, even after 13 Grand Slam championships and dozens of other titles, she is capable of throwing away a big lead.
Williams led 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker and was
two points from victory nine
times but still lost to Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 — the first time she has ever lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Williams entered the tournament with a 17-0 record on clay this year. And it looked like No. 18 was in the bag late in the second set.
Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal had no such trouble, starting his quest for a record seventh French Open title by beating Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Maria Sharapova had an even easier time, scoring a "double bagel" in her 6-0, 6-0 win over Alexandra Cadantu of Romania.
"I feel like with every year I have improved," Sharapova said, "and I enjoy it much more."