Novak Djokovic gets good workout in 1st French Open match
Former French runner-up Stosur blitzes veteran Date-Krumm
Novak Djokovic does not try to hide his ambitions. He makes perfectly clear that he wants to win a French Open title more than anything.
Embarking on a bid to complete a career Grand Slam and fill the only glaring hole on his resume, the No. 1-ranked Djokovic pulled out a tight first set en route to a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-5 victory Tuesday in the first round against David Goffin, a Belgian who was the surprise of Roland Garros a year ago.
"I love this Grand Slam," Djokovic said from Paris. "I really want to do well here."
The key moment came in the first-set tiebreaker, with the 58th-ranked Goffin serving at 5-all. After he faulted once, a fan yelled, "Allez, David!" The 22-year-old Goffin then proceeded to miss his second serve, too, for a double-fault that gave Djokovic a set point.
"That's what happens sometimes. When you play in Davis Cup, you see that on every serve, basically," Goffin said. "Anyway, it was up to me to focus my mind. This is the type of thing that can happen and can happen to anybody. So tough luck."
More troubles for Bernie Tomic
Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic, whose father was banned from attending the French Open because of an assault investigation, retired from his first-round match at Roland Garros in the third set Tuesday.
The 61st-ranked Tomic was treated for a right hamstring problem in the first set but played on until stopping while trailing 7-5, 7-6 (8), 2-1 against Victor Hanescu of Romania.
Tomic's father, John, is due in court in Madrid in October. He is accused of head-butting Bernard's former hitting partner, Thomas Drouet.
The ATP and International Tennis Federation barred John Tomic from receiving credentials for tournaments. The French tennis federation announced Monday they had told the ATP, Bernard Tomic and his agent that the father would not be allowed onto the grounds of the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, even as a paying spectator.
French federation spokesman Christophe Proust said Tuesday that John Tomic had not been seen at the Roland Garros complex and that the father's name did not come up when tournament salespeople checked tickets this morning.
After only three games against Hanescu, Bernard Tomic called for a trainer to work on his right leg while he was leading 2-1. The trainer massaged Tomic's right hamstring; while he continued to play, he was limping.
At 20, Bernard Tomic is seen as Australia's most promising player. He reached Wimbledon's quarter-finals in 2011 at age 18 — the youngest man to make it that far at the All England Club since Boris Becker in the 1980s — but his young career has been marked by off-court issues.
In November, he was fined and put on a 12-month good-behaviour bond after twice being stopped by Australian police for driving offences near his Gold Coast home.
— The Associated Press
His backhand into the net then gave the set to Djokovic, who had won fewer total points until then, 39-36.
After that, though, there were not too many hiccups for Djokovic, although he did get broken at love by Goffin, evening the second set at 4-all. Djokovic broke right back and was really on his way.
In 2012, Goffin got into the French Open field as a "lucky loser" — someone who loses in qualifying but is put in the main draw because another player withdrew — and made it all the way to the fourth round. That's when he got to face Roger Federer, Goffin's idol. He even took a set off the owner of the most career major titles before losing the match.
"He has a good chance to have a good future," Djokovic said. "He likes playing here, obviously. He likes playing on a big stage."
Djokovic lost to seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the final a year ago in Paris. That ended Djokovic's 27-match Grand Slam winning streak and, with it, his attempt to earn a fourth consecutive major championship.
Now Djokovic — who has won the Australian Open four times, and the U.S. Open and Wimbledon once each — really would love to pick up his first trophy at Roland Garros to make a full assortment.
"This is the tournament that is the No. 1 priority of my year, of my season," the Serb said on the eve of the French Open. "This is where I want to win, and I'm going to go for it. I think my game is there, and I'm very, very motivated."
On Tuesday, he faced a total of only two break points, saving one, while converting 3 of 11 chances against Goffin, who displayed a beautiful touch at the net. Goffin was unafraid to move forward, something seen less and less these days, particularly on red clay.
Worth the wait
Sam Stosur waited 2 ½ hours to play because of rain, then quickly won her opening match at the French Open.
The 2010 runner-up swept the first nine games Tuesday and drubbed 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-2.
Matches were delayed at the start on a 55-degree afternoon, and when the rain stopped, Stosur was ready. Playing on cozy Court 1, nicknamed the bullring, Stosur dominated with her strong serve and pinpoint groundstrokes, repeatedly skipping shots just inside the lines.
Shortly after Stosur finished, rain returned, prompting another interruption.
"I was happy to get out there and start," she said. "It was spitting a little bit when we went out there. You think, `Oh, are we going to start or are we not?' Lucky for me I was able to finish the match before this last downpour came."
American Jack Sock, a 20-year-old qualifier ranked 118th, made a successful Roland Garros debut by beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 7-5.
No. 12 Tommy Haas earned his first Grand Slam victory since turning 35, beating Guillaume Rufin 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-3. A teen also had his turn — Lucas Pouille, a 19-year-old wild card from France, defeated American Alex Kuznetsov 6-1, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov advanced when Alejandro Falla retired with indigestion trailing 6-4, 1-0.
Bartoli outlasts Govortsova
Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, a semifinalist two years ago, needed more than three hours on centre court to beat Olga Govortsova 7-6 (8), 4-6, 7-5.
Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka's match against Elena Vesnina was among 10 first-round matches postponed. They won't begin until at least Wednesday, three days after some players were already into the second round.
Taking the court for an evening match was No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, who seeks to complete a career Grand Slam with a title at Roland Garros.
Stosur, seeded No. 9, enjoyed a career breakthrough three years ago when she reached the Roland Garros final before losing to Francesca Schiavone. She won the U.S. Open in 2011, but this year has been hampered by a right calf injury and has yet to reach a semifinal.
Stosur said she's now feeling 100 percent and hoping for a good run in Paris.
"The first hurdle is done, but there are many, many more ahead of me," she said. "I have to stay on track, but I think this was a very good start."
Date-Krumm, who won the Strasbourg doubles title last week, is the third-oldest woman to play in the French Open. When she made her Roland Garros debut in 1989, nearly half the players in this year's women's draw had not yet been born.
She said she didn't play any singles matches on clay leading up to Roland Garros because the surface is her weakest, and while she had low expectations against Stosur, she felt she played better toward the finish.
"I enjoy it a little bit in the end of the second set," she said. "My tennis, it was not so bad. Stosur is so strong, and she's specialist on the clay. ... I'm already focused on the grass court season."
When rain returned after 90 minutes of play, soggy fans huddled in corridors and formed long lines at the gourmet coffee, hot dog and waffle stands.
Last week, tournament officials said they would move ahead with plans to build a retractable roof over center court, despite a judicial ruling in March that put the project on hold. The roof would be completed in 2018 as part of a $440 million renovation project at Roland Garros.
The men's final last year between Djokovic and Nadal was halted because of rain in the fourth set, forcing an overnight suspension and the completion of the tournament on a Monday. It was the first time in 39 years the French Open didn't finish on time.