French Open: Patience pays for Djokovic

PTI Paris | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 29, 2013


Novak Djokovic, bidding to win a first French Open and become just the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam, played a game of patience with the Paris rain and it paid off.

The world number one only got onto Court Philippe Chatrier just after 1830 (1630GMT) yesterday after a marathon women’s match and a four-hour total rain stoppage left him kicking his heels.

But the top seed came out fired-up to beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 7-5 to reach the second round.

“Thanks to all the fans for waiting. It was a good match, David is a good player and has a lot of talent,” said Djokovic, who next faces Guido Pella of Argentina.

“I’m happy to win and hope to continue like this.”

Djokovic, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2012, would have been wary of the challenge posed by Goffin, who made the last 16 in 2012 after coming through qualifying.

But the world number 58 lacked the firepower to consistently trouble the world number one.

Spotlight on Bernard Tomic

On a day when 13 matches of the 40 scheduled were held over until Wednesday and three were uncompleted, it was troubled Australian Bernard Tomic who found himself at the centre of attention during the cool and damp afternoon.

Tomic, 20, retired from his first round match against Victor Hanescu with a muscle tear.

The world number 61 then launched a passionate defence of his father, and coach, John Tomic who is facing criminal charges in Spain after being accused of assaulting his son’s training partner.

My dad is in Paris, he’s still my dad and he will remain my coach. I love him a lot,” said Tomic, who dropped the first two sets against Hanescu before quitting in the third to hand a 7—5 7—6 (10/8) 2—1 win to his Romanian opponent.

John Tomic was banned from attending the tournament after he was accused of attacking Thomas Drouet, in Madrid on May 4.

Drouet was left with a broken nose after a brawl outside the hotel where players in the Madrid Masters were staying.

Dimitrov through to second round

Highly-rated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, dubbed ‘Baby Federer’ because of his similar style to the 17-time Grand Slam winner, went through when Colombian opponent Alejandro Falla retired with the Bulgarian 26th seed 6-4, 1-0 to the good.

The 22-year-old Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, could face Djokovic in the third round.

“These are the kind of matches I always want to play in.

I feel good on the big courts and playing against good players,” said the Bulgarian, who beat Djokovic in Madrid and pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals.

Dimitrov will attempt to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time when he faces French wildcard Lucas Pouille, the world number 324.

Women’s matches

World number 83 Kimiko Date-Krumm, who played her first Roland Garros in 1989 — three years before Dimitrov was born — probably wished it had kept on raining on Tuesday.

The 42-year-old Japanese lost 6-0 6-2 to Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 runner-up and former US Open winner.

Date-Krumm became the third oldest player to compete in women’s singles in the tournament — Martina Navratilova holding the record at 47 and 232 days from her 2004 showing.

Fully 57 players in this year’s women’s singles draw were not even born when Date-Krumm made her Roland Garros debut.

“Stosur is so strong and she’s a specialist on clay,” said Date-Krumm.

“Today she didn’t make mistakes because I couldn’t put her under pressure.”

Elsewhere, in the rain-hit programme, French women’s number one Marion Bartoli, the 13th seed, needed three hours and five match points to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 7—6 (10/8) 4—6 7—5.

Bartoli, a semi—finalist in 2011, also saved two match points.

She goes on to face Colombia’s Mariana Duque—Marino.

Three—time semi—finalist Jelena Jankovic, the 18th seeded Serb, beat Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova 6—4 7—6 (9/7) and next plays Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

But world number three Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, had her opener against Elena Vesnina held over until today.

Published on May 29, 2013
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