PARIS: Defending champion Roger Federer defied two rain breaks to reach the French Open third round with a 7-6, (7/4), 6-2, 6-4 win against Colombian lefthander Alejandro Falla.
Federer, chasing a 17th Grand Slam title, overcame a sloppy first set, where he was plagued by 21 unforced errors and had to save five break points, before overcoming Falla.
Last year’s runner-up Robin Soderling took just 71 minutes to book his place as the Swedish fifth-seed crushed hapless American Taylor Dent 6-0, 6-1, 6-1. Soderling’s victory equalled the 71 minutes it took Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber to beat Australia’s Bernard Tomic 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 last year. But the shortest match remains the 1970 final, when Jan Kodes defeated Zeljko Franulovic in 68 minutes.
In another match, eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga booked his place in the French Open third round with an imperious 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over French compatriot Josselin Ouanna.
World number two Venus Williams made it to the last-32 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Arantxa Parra Santonja. Williams, next plays Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, who made the semifinals in 2009.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.