French Open

Federer ties Connors' Grand Slam match win record

May 28, 2012 08:51 AM
PARIS (AP) -- Roger Federer tied Jimmy Connors' Open era record of 233 Grand Slam match wins by beating Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open on Monday.
 
Federer, who owns a record 16 major championships, is 233-35 at tennis' top four tournaments, a .869 winning percentage. Connors was 233-49. The Open era began in 1968.
 
"That's a big one, because that was longevity," Federer said. "Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time and was around for 20 years."
 
Kamke fell to 6-10 at Grand Slams, never advancing past the third round.
 
Federer turned 30 last August and is trying to become the first man that old to win a Grand Slam tournament since Andre Agassi was 32 at the 2003 Australian Open. Federer has gone more than two years without a major title - his longest drought since winning his first at Wimbledon in 2003.
 
Meanwhile, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka turned it on when she had to Monday, winning 12 of the final 14 games to reach the second round at the French Open.
 
The Australian Open champion, who took over the No. 1 ranking by winning in Melbourne, struggled for long stretches but came back to beat Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2.
 
"Sometimes I felt it was not my day. Sometimes I thought, 'Yeah, maybe I still fight, I still have a chance,'" Azarenka said. "Sometimes it was like, you know what? Forget it. I don't want to do it."
 
Brianti, a 32-year-old veteran with one career WTA title, won the first set and then led 4-0 in the second before losing six straight games.
 
Azarenka had 60 unforced errors.
 
"I think it says it all. Bad days happen," Azarenka said. "Unfortunately today I had way more mistakes than I usually do, but, you know, it happens sometimes."
 
Later Monday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play his first match of the tournament.
 
Defending women's champion Li Na also won easily, beating Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-1. Last year, Li became the first Chinese player to capture a Grand Slam singles title when she won at Roland Garros.
 
No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and No. 19 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia also advanced to the second round. The 15th-seeded player on the men's side, Feliciano Lopez, retired from his match with a side muscle injury after losing the first five games of the first set to Florent Serra.
 
Azarenka was first up in the main stadium, and she didn't look good at the start. In the opening set, she had 28 unforced errors. The top-ranked Belarussian started the 2012 season with a 26-match winning streak. Her first loss came in the quarterfinals at Miami.
 
No top-seeded woman has ever lost in the first round at the French Open since the tournament began to allow foreign entrants in 1925. In the other Grand Slam tournaments, it has happened four times, most recently when Martina Hingis lost in the first round at Wimbledon in 2001.
 

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