This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 25 August, 2019
Advertisement

Serena survives scare in Paris opener as Djokovic lays down early French Open marker

The world number one is chasing his second ‘Novak Slam’.

Marching on: Novak Djokovic.
Marching on: Novak Djokovic.
Image: ABACA/PA Images

SERENA WILLIAMS SURVIVED a first-round scare at the French Open on Monday as she battled back from a set down to defeat Russian world number 83 Vitalia Diatchenko, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both eased through.

37-year-old Williams, who is attempting to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles, racked up her 800th career main draw win with her 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory in front of a half-full Court Philippe Chatrier.

Nadal started his bid for a record-extending 12th men’s Roland Garros title with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 win over German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, before world number one Djokovic saw off Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets.

This was only Williams’ fifth match since collapsing to defeat late on against Karolina Pliskova in the Australian Open quarter-finals earlier this year, but she showed excellent form in the second and third sets in Paris.

“It wasn’t easy today, I’ve practised hard and I’m happy to win today,” said the 10th seed, who has not won a major title since the 2017 Australian Open.

The three-time French Open winner started poorly, and was punished as Diatchenko broke to love in the fifth game en route to the first set.

But having made 14 unforced errors in the opener, Williams made just 10 more in the rest of the match as she overpowered her opponent, dropping only one game in the process.

She will play either Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara or Slovenian world number 104 Dalila Jakupovic in the next round. 

- Djokovic impresses -

Djokovic laid down an early marker in his bid to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously for the second time, powering past Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz.

The 15-time major champion impressed in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 triumph and will face Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen in round two.

“I was very solid. I’m happy with my game today,” said the top seed. “It’s a long tournament… But I just want to concentrate on my next match.”

12 months ago, Djokovic dropped out of the world’s top 20 after a shock quarter-final loss to Marco Cecchinato and even pondered skipping Wimbledon, but he has instead reclaimed his place at the top of the game.

Earlier on Monday, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki collapsed to a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Russian world number 68 Veronika Kudermetova in the first round.

“I think she got very lucky at the start of the second set and took advantage of the opportunities she got,” said Wozniacki.

Sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was forced to pull out before her scheduled opener against Sorana Cirstea with a left arm injury, but said she should be fit for Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.

Dutch fourth seed Kiki Bertens looked in fine fettle, though, beating home player Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-4.

In the men’s event, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka progressed with a 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakian Jozef Kovalik.

© – AFP 2019

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel