x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

French Open: Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic cruises through

No problems for big names on opening day at Roland Garros.

Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets. Philippe Wojaze / Reuters
Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets. Philippe Wojaze / Reuters

Pablo Carreno-Busta may have seven more titles than Roger Federer this year but he was no match for the Swiss star when they met in the first round of the French Open today.

Carreno-Busta has been one of the most prolific winners of the year, racking up 56 victories including three in qualifying in Paris to climb from outside the top 600 in the rankings to 164.

But all his seven titles of the season came at the third-tier Futures level so perhaps it was not too surprising that the 21-year-old Spaniard found a match against Federer on Court Philippe Chatrier a marked step up in class.

The Swiss is yet to win a trophy this season but he showed some good form in reaching the final in Rome last week before a humbling defeat against Rafael Nadal.

And Federer was in a ruthless mood to start with in cool and blustery conditions, racing through the first five games.

Carreno-Busta's nerves looked to be getting the better of him but he avoided the dreaded bagel by breaking the Federer serve and held serve for the first time himself.

The second set was a similar story but Carreno-Busta was coming into the match and he caused Federer a few problems in the third before the second seed came through 6-2 6-2 6-3, clinching victory with a searing backhand winner.

Fouth-seeded David Ferrer struggled at times but finally got the better of Marinko Matosevic, overcoming the Australian 6-4 6-3 6-4.

In the women's draw, Ana Ivanovic, the past champion, overcame an inconsistent performance and held on to beat 108th-ranked Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 .

The 14th-seeded Ivanovic, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2008, began the first-round match well while wearing a long-sleeved shirt with the temperature dipping to 13C.

But Ivanovic faltered in the second set, then had trouble closing out Martic before finally converting her fifth match point.

Martic showed she can be tough on red clay by knocking out eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli en route to reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.

Serena Williams crushed one of her French Open ghosts with an unstoppable demolition of Anna Tatishvili in the first round in Paris.

Roland Garros has been a troublesome venue for the world No 1 with several painful defeats, none more so than last year when she fell in the opening round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.

Williams' conqueror was Virginie Razzano, an unheralded Frenchwoman ranked outside the top 100, and it was all the more surprising given the American had been in superb form on the European clay.

Williams took the defeat hard but regrouped, took on a new coach in Patrick Mouratoglou and has won 68 of her 71 matches since, bringing her 10 titles, including Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open.

The 31 yearold is the hot favourite to win her second French Open title 11 years after her first, and today's display will do nothing to change that.

Back on Court Philippe Chatrier for the first time since losing to Razzano, Williams reeled off the first nine games against Georgia's Tatishvili, allowing her opponent only seven points in the first set.

Tatishvili finally got on the board in the 10th game and battled manfully to at least make a fight of the second set but Williams was not in a charitable mood and clinched a 6-0, 6-1 victory in 51 minutes.


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