Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

Federer family sees win

PARIS — Roger Federer's 4-year-old twin daughters, Myla and Riva, hung in there for about 20 minutes Sunday in his guest box at Court Philippe Chatrier, long enough to see their father take control of his French Open match.

They bounced on the knees of their mom or Swiss Davis Cup coach Severin Luthi. Eventually, the kids left with a nanny, perhaps to join their twin brothers, who are less than 3 weeks old.

Truth is, Federer's first victory as a father of four — he had been 0-1 since Leo and Lenny joined the world — contained little drama. Federer swept the last five games of the opening set, won 36 of 43 service points in the first two sets and eliminated 87th-ranked Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round at Roland Garros.

"My personal life, as we know, it's all great," the fourth-seeded Federer said. "So I'm happy the family is here."

Sunday's win was the 2009 champion's 59th in a French Open match, tying him with Rafael Nadal for the most in history. Nadal, an eight-time French Open champion, can nudge back ahead today in his first-round match against American wild-card entry Robby Ginepri.

" 'Rafa' is the favorite" to win the tournament, Federer said. Novak Djokovic comes next in the pecking order, he said, "and then the rest (of us); it's very clear."

Other winners on a cloudy but dry Day 1 at the only Grand Slam event that starts on Sunday included No. 6 Tomas Berdych; No. 8 Milos Raonic, who got past the youngest man in the draw, 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios; 10th-seeded American John Isner, and No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz beat Victor Estrella Burgos, the first man from the Dominican Republic at a major since 1956.

"This day, I'll remember. I'm never going to forget," Estrella Burgos said. "When I get into the court, I almost want to cry for the first time. There are so many people from the Dominican who come to see me."

Defending women's champion Serena Williams and her older sister, No. 29 Venus, moved closer to a possible third-round meeting. Other women advancing: No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, who weathered seven consecutive service breaks at the start before taking the last nine games; No. 8 Angelique Kerber; No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro; and No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova. The only seed to lose was No. 25 Kaia Kanepi, to Monica Niculescu.

When Federer departed the main stadium, Serena Williams entered and had about the same amount of difficulty, beating 130th-ranked wild-card entry Alize Lim 6-2, 6-1. At Court Suzanne Lenglen, Venus defeated 17-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1.

Venus, 34 next month, turned professional about 21/2 years before Bencic was born. No longer are teens at the top. Venus was 17 when she reached her first Grand Slam final; Serena was that age when she won her first major title.

This French Open women's field has more than twice as many players 30 or older (17) as teens (eight).

"Young folks today, eh?" Venus said. "I'm just trying to hopefully stay alive myself as an older player."

Today's key matches

Men: Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Robby Ginepri; Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Joao Sousa; Stan Wawrinka (3) vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Women: Petra Kvitova (5) vs. Zarina Diyas; Jelena Jankovic (6) vs. Sharon Fichman; Maria Sharapova (7) vs. Ksenia Pervak.

TV: 5 a.m., ESPN2; 10 a.m., Tennis Channel.

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