Dudi dispatched in first round by Berdych

Federer equals record with 233rd Slam victory; Djokovic cruises, Azarenka survives close call.

Dudi Sela at French Open 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Dudi Sela at French Open 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Dudi Sela was knocked out in the first round at Roland Garros for the fourth time in five attempts on Monday, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych.
The 27-year-old Israeli dropped 24 places to No. 95 in the ATP rankings over the last two weeks after winning just two of six games in the clay-court season.
Despite a valiant effort on Monday, he never really had a chance against Berdych, who reached the French Open semifinals two years ago.
Sela canceled out an early break in the seventh game of the first set, but lost his serve immediately and the Czech clinched the set.
The Israeli No. 1 was making inroads on Berdych’s second serve, but he hit just 17 winners to 18 unforced errors in the match and there was only going to be one outcome after he lost his serve in the ninth game of the second set.
Following the defeat, Sela is also set to miss out on the London Olympics unless he is handed a wildcard.
In other action, Roger Federer’s bid for a record 17th major tennis title began with another landmark on Monday, when he won his 233rd match at a grand slam event, equaling the achievement of Jimmy Connors.
Federer beat German Tobias Kamke 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open and can surpass American Connors’s professional-era record by continuing his progress here.
Women’s world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was lucky to advance after being five points away from defeat against Italian Alberta Brianti in their first-round match, but turned the tables to scrape through 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Novak Djokovic had a calm start to his bid to complete his grand slam collection and become the first man in 43 years to hold all four titles at the same time.
The world No. 1 was taken to a firstset tiebreak but otherwise was never stretched on the Roland Garros clay by Italian Potito Starace and won 7-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Serbian Djokovic will next play Slovenian Blaz Kavcic. He had a hardfought, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win over former US Open and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, who needed a wildcard to get into the main draw of the French this time after a run of injuries.
Federer, the 2009 champion at Roland Garros and runner-up four times to Rafael Nadal, hit some wayward shots against the 78th-ranked Kamke but was happy to get through in straight sets.
“They are never easy, those first rounds,” the Swiss world number three told a news conference. “I missed a few too many shots but I was in the lead so I could afford to do those.”
Federer will now meet Romania’s Adrian Ungur who beat Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Australian Open champion Azarenka, who would have been the first top-seeded woman to lose in the opening round, hit 60 unforced errors in her two hours 16 minutes on Philippe Chatrier court.
“I think that says it all,” the Belarussian said. “Bad days happen to everyone.”
Defending champion Li Na raced through her opening match, thrashing Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-1 in 58 minutes.
Fifteenth seed Dominika Cibulkova was also swift in beating French wildcard Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-1 and will play American Vania King in the second round.
Defending men’s champion Nadal will join the fray on Tuesday, playing Italian Simone Bolelli.
Reuters contributed to this report