Aisamul Haq Qureshi launched a last-ditch effort to qualify for the Olympics as he and doubles partner Jean-Julien Rojer won their opening French Open match 6-3, 6-2 against the French pair of Jonathan Dasnieres De Veigy and Nicolas Renavand.
Aisam, who is also partnering Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova in the mixed doubles, needs to gather 1,470 ranking points in order to get back in the top-10 and be eligible for the London event.
Aisam and Rojer, following the easy win, will now face Bjorn Phau of Germany and Adil Shamasuddin of Canada in the next round.
The Pakistani, however, went down in the first round of the mixed doubles event with Hlavackova, losing to Galina Voskoboeva and Daniele Bracciali 6-4, 6-2.
Federer sets win record
Meanwhile, Roger Federer set a new record of 234 Grand Slam match wins as he reached the French Open’s last-32 where he was joined by top seed Novak Djokovic whose date with tennis destiny edged a little closer.
Federer, the third seed, overcame a mid-match wobble to beat Romania’s Adrian Ungur 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, and go past Jimmy Connors’ long-standing record of 233 wins at the majors which he had equalled in the first round.
“I expect myself to win and I usually manage to do it,” said Federer. “It’s not like that at the start of your career when you think you are good enough but you are not that good yet.”
Djokovic edged closer to Grand Slam history with a 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic. The world number one, bidding to become only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, put down a gutsy challenge from world number 99 Kavcic.
Argentine ninth-seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the only man outside of Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal to have won a major in the last seven years, made the last-32 with a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-4 win over France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Del Potro, battling a knee injury and who had to call the trainer onto the court for the second match in a row, faces Croatian 21st seed Marin Cilic for a place in the last-16. Cilic put out 2003 French Open winner and former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3.
Azarenka, Stosur cruise
In the women’s draw, Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur moved closer to a potential quarter-final showdown with both coasting to straight sets wins as the second round got underway.
Top-seeded Azarenka from Belarus defeated German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1, 6-1 while Australian sixth-seed Stosur saw off Irina Falconi of the US 6-1, 6-4.
Azarenka won the Australian Open in January and is seeking to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati to win the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year.
“It was a different game for sure,” she said. “I didn’t really know my opponent and it took a few games to understand. But after a few games I found my rhythm and definitely played much better today.”
“It was a different game for sure. I didn’t really know my opponent and it took a few games to understand what she does. But after a few games I found my rhythm and definitely played much better today.”
“It’s only the third round and there is a long way to go yet before you are holding the trophy. It’s just one of those things — you have to knuckle down. I know that I’ve had good runs here. Now I’m up to the third step of that.”
“I expect myself to win when I walk on the court and I usually manage to do exactly that. It’s not like that at the start of your career when you think you are good enough but you are not that good yet.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.
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