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Federer, Serena Williams triumphant on opening day of French Open

Serena Williams enjoyed the first round of this year's French Open more than last year.

Story highlights

  • Serena Williams drops one game in winning her first round match at the French Open
  • Williams lost in the first round last year, her lone exit at the opening stage of a major
  • Roger Federer advances in straight sets over a Spanish qualifier
  • Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt blows a two-set lead to France's Gilles Simon

There wasn't much drama in Serena Williams' opening match at the French Open this year.

She'll take it.

Last season at Roland Garros, Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano handed Williams her first loss in the first round of a grand slam tournament -- and Williams has been playing majors for a while, since 1999.

Williams, uncharacteristically, blew a one-set lead as well as a sizable advantage in the second-set tiebreak before appearing to cry in her chair.

Razzano, cramping, withstood a late rally from Williams in the third set to extend the current No. 1's struggles at the French Open, the lone grand slam the American hasn't won more than once.

Read: Williams upset in Paris

On Sunday as this year's tournament began, Williams cruised past Georgia's Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1 to extend her winning streak to 25 matches.

"It hasn't been working out for me," said Williams, referring to her past performances at the French Open. "I just think I may have gotten nervous in the past or may have basically choked a few matches away.

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"Some matches I just lost because maybe I wasn't intense enough or maybe I didn't do enough work before I got here to the tournament."

Williams won over the crowd on center court by practicing her French, but most at Roland Garros will likely be rooting for her next opponent, Caroline Garcia, since she's French.

Garcia once led Maria Sharapova, the reigning French Open champion, by a set and break at the tournament.

The player Sharapova beat in last year's final, Sara Errani, also eased into the second round. The Italian downed slumping Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-2.

In men's action Roger Federer -- the French Open is the lone grand slam he hasn't won more than once -- disposed of Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Federer, the owner of a men's record 17 majors, made it look easy against Carreno Busta, who won seven straight tournaments at the lower level this season.

"I felt good," said Federer. "He's played many matches and won a lot this year - a lot on clay, by comparison with me. I knew it could be tricky if I didn't sustain a certain aggressiveness, get caught up in long rallies, maybe what he's looking for.

"I did well on the serve, on the return, on movement. Clearly I'm very pleased. Am I a favorite to win here? I don't care, because it doesn't give me any more opportunities to win the tournament. I just want to remain calm and let the storm go by."

Federer seemed to catch a break in the draw when he was put in the same half as fourth-seed David Ferrer and not seven-time tournament winner Rafael Nadal, the third seed.

Read: Djokovic, Nadal in same half

Ferrer, never into a grand slam final, recorded a straight-set win over Australian Marinko Matosevic.

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Matosevic's veteran countryman, Lleyton Hewitt, took part in the day's most dramatic match, blowing a two-set lead and falling to Gilles Simon 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5. Simon originally held a 5-0 lead in the fifth.

Hewitt, who lost his fourth straight encounter, continues to compete, despite hip problems.

"Physically I feel good. I was never going to play a lot of clay tournaments anyway," the 32-year-old former Wimbledon champion said.

"I wanted to be fresh physically and mentally for the grass season. I still trained extremely hard, though, so that was good. Now we will see what happens on the grass."

Nadal and Sharapova contest their opening matches Monday.


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