Djokovic Eases Through, Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open
PARIS (Dispatches) - World Number 1 Novak Djokovic has dominated his first round match at the French Open, sweeping aside Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 in just 98 minutes.
The Serb frequently used drop shots throughout the game, just as he did during his Rome title run last week.
"I think it’s a great variety shot, the drop shot. I think it’s important tactically to have it and to use it at the right time so that you can keep your opponent always guessing what the next shot is,” said Djokovic, who is seeking his 18th Grand Slam title at Paris.
With the victory over Ymer, Djokovic improved his record this season to a stellar 32-1. The only defeat came in a disqualification earlier this month at the US Open, where he hit a ball in frustration which struck the line judge on the neck.
No. 6 seed Serena Williams was forced to pull out of the French Open ahead of her second-round match against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday because of an Achilles injury.
"I really wanted to give an effort here. It’s my Achilles that didn’t have enough to properly heal after the Open. I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long-term in this tournament, will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don’t think I could,” said the three-time Roland Garros winner.
"(I’m) struggling to walk so that’s a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” she added.
Williams injured her Achilles tendon during her semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open earlier this month.
The 39-year-old tennis great, who is seeking a record-tie 24th Grand Slam title, skipped all the tune-up tournaments for the clay majors and practiced at the Mouratoglou Academy, but acknowledged she was "not one hundred percent” as the French Open started.
Pironkova, 33, who has just returned to the Tour after three years’ absence at the US Open and made an impressive run to the quarterfinals, receiving a walkover to the third round in Paris.
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic survived a scare from Egyptian opponent Mayar Sherif after she came back from one set down to beat her opponent 6-7(9), 6-2, 6-4 to reach the second round.
The former world No. 1 is set to face a tougher challenge in the second round against 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who knocked out American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-1.
Pliskova wasted eight set points in the opener but recovered quickly in the following two sets, serving out the contest on Court Philippe-Chatrier after two hours and 15 minutes.
The 24-year-old Sherif, who ranks 172 in the world, was the first Egyptian woman to appear in a Grand Slam main draw, while Pliskova, 27, is bidding for her first major title in her 33rd Grand Slam appearance.