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Sports

Federer cruises at French Open

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 02:20 AM
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 Monday, dipping into his considerable repertoire of shotmaking in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory against 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."

The No. 1-ranked woman, Serena Williams, for example, found little to smile about after following Federer into the main stadium and beating Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 7-6 (2), 6-2.

It was not the sort of afternoon for long outings, but some players just can't seem to help themselves, such as No. 4 Andy Murray and former top-10 player Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet started well, but Murray finished well and won 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 Monday's winners included Tampa's Mardy Fish.

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