Serena cruises to next round as Venus exits
Venus Williams of the U.S. clenches her fist after winning the second set against Poland's Urszula Radwanska in their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, May 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Serena Williams of the U.S. prepares to serve against Georgia's Anna Tatishvili in their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, May 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
PARIS – Serena Williams erased her nightmare defeat in last year’s French Open first round by routing Anna Tatishvili. Her sister Venus Williams created some of her own bad memories, getting upset in yesterday’s opening round.
The top-seeded Serena eased past the 83rd-ranked player from Georgia, 6-0, 6-1, in 51 minutes on the main Court Philippe Chartier. Six hours later on the Court Suzanne Lenglen, Serena watched as Venus lost 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 to Poland’s Urszula Radwanska in a match full of service breaks and long rallies.
“I am still shaking,” Radwanska said in a court-side interview after winning in three hours, 19 minutes as dusk fell. “It was such a long match.”
Serena Williams said she was apprehensive going into her first match this year.
“I was definitely nervous, but for the most part I felt pretty safe and felt good about my game,” the 31-year-old said in a news conference after she had received cheers from the court for addressing them in French during a post-match interview. “If I can just do what I do in practice, I’ll be okay.”
Earlier, former champion Roger Federer won easily against a qualifier.
Federer, the 2009 champion from Switzerland, was never in trouble against Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta, winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Federer, who won a men’s record-extending 17th major singles crown at Wimbledon last year, struck 33 winners compared with 12 for his opponent.
“It was not easy for him, but I am always happy to be back playing in the main stadium here in Paris,” Federer, 31, said.
Her defeat against Radwanska was Venus Williams’s earliest loss in a major since she was knocked out of the opening round of Wimbledon last year.
Williams, 32, was playing in her 59th Grand Slam event, the most among active players on the women’s tour. Her best result in Paris was in 2002, when she lost in the final to her younger sister and women’s top seed.
Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion now ranked 30th on the women’s tour, was diagnosed with the energy-sapping Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2011. She has since struggled during some of her matches with stamina and strength, and has also had several injuries that kept her away from the tour.
Against the 37th-ranked Radwanska, Williams saved five set points before dropping the first-set tie-break with a backhand into the net.
Play went into a second set tie-break as Venus failed to serve out the set at 5-4 and 6-5. Radwanska raced to a 4-0 lead only for Williams to win the next seven points in a row and force a third set.
Radwanska took a 5-2 lead as Williams continued to struggle with her serve in the final set. Williams fought back to 4-5, only to lose the match as she netted a ground stroke.
Serena Williams fired 27 winners, including eight aces, past her opponent. Her win was in sharp contrast to last year, when she got handed her first-ever defeat in the opening round of a major during a nervous encounter with then 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano of France.
After the loss, Williams went on a run to the top spot in women’s tennis, winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the season-ending WTA Championships and singles and doubles gold at the London Olympics. Williams last won the title in Paris in 2002.
Ana Ivanovic, another former champion, overcame a challenge from Petra Martic of Croatia to reach the second round. Sara Errani, last year’s runner-up from Italy, eased past Aranxta Rus of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-2.
David Ferrer, the No. 4 seed from Spain, advanced with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over Marinko Matosevic of Australia. Milos Raonic, the No. 14 seed from Canada, beat Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, while France’s No. 15 seed Gilles Simon overcame former top-ranked Australian Lleyton Hewitt, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5.
No. 18 seed Sam Querrey, the highest-ranked American man, also won, defeating Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Querrey has never gotten to the third round of Roland Garros in seven appearances. Fellow American James Blake, a former top 10 player, lost to Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
With spectators wrapped up in scarves and hats in 50 degree weather, Ivanovic of Serbia opened the tournament on the main Court Philippe Chatrier by beating Martic, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.