Federer plays 'perfect match' in opener
By Howard Fendrich
PARIS — The French-speaking voice booming through loudspeakers at Court Philippe Chatrier recited Roger Federer's bona fides during prematch introductions, detailing his six titles at Wimbledon, five at the U.S. Open, four at the Australian Open and then, reaching a crescendo, concluded this way:
"One at Roland Garros, here, last year!"
Federer smiled. Fans roared, many rising to applaud. Playing at the French Open as defending champion for the first time, Federer gave 'em plenty to cheer about yesterday, dipping into his considerable repertoire of shotmaking in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over 71st-ranked Peter Luczak of Australia.
With the end result far from in doubt, Federer turned the outing into a glorified practice session. He closed one extended exchange by slicing a backhand with so much spin that, after landing, the ball darted back toward the net, away from Luczak. Federer acknowledged the cheers by raising an index finger, lest somebody forget he's No. 1.
"If it was anyone else, I'd be getting pretty angry," said Luczak, whose career mark in Grand Slam matches fell to 5-14. "He just had me on a string and just (was) toying with me at the end. I think he was enjoying it."
Federer made only 11 unforced errors, won 50 of 64 points on his serve and faced one break point, which he saved.
"I was pretty relaxed," said Federer, who can tie Pete Sampras' record of 286 total weeks at No. 1 in the rankings June 7. "It was like a perfect match to get off the French Open campaign, really."
Meanwhile, the No. 1-ranked woman, Serena Williams beat Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
"I definitely didn't feel good about it," said Williams, who counts the 2002 French Open among her 12 majors. "At least I won. I think I'm still in the tournament; that's what matters."
Also, No. 4 Andy Murray beat former top-10 player Richard Gasquet of France, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
Two seeded Spaniards lost, No. 21 Tommy Robredo and No. 27 Feliciano Lopez, while yesterday's winners included No. 3 Novak Djokovic, No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez, No. 13 Gael Monfils, No. 14 Ivan Ljubicic, No. 19 Nicolas Almagro, No. 25 Marcos Baghdatis, and three U.S. men: No. 17 John Isner, Taylor Dent and Mardy Fish.
There were zero notable upsets among the women, and Williams will be joined in the second round by No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 4 Jelena Jankovic, No. 5 Elena Dementieva, No. 7 Sam Stosur, No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 11 Li Na, No. 17 Francesca Schiavone and No. 24 Lucie Safarova.