Swiss sweep to opening Paris victories

Swiss aces Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka made emphatic winning starts to their French Open campaigns on Sunday, with the pair blowing past their opponents and into the second round.

Federer, the 2009 champion and only man besides Rafael Nadal to win the Roland Garros title in the past decade, hammered home an eighth straight victory over Alejandro Falla 6-3 6-3 6-4 to defeat the Colombian for the third time on Paris clay.

“It’s always a pleasure to win here, I’ve been playing this event for 17 years, not counting juniors,” said Federer, holder of three titles this season including Istanbul on clay.

“He was a lefty, it was the first round and I didn’t want to take too many chances. I’m very content with this win.”

Federer reached the second round with 43 winners and four breaks of serve.

Wawrinka made up for an early exit in the quarter-finals of his home Geneva Open this week, defeating Turk Marsel Ilhan 6-3 6-2 6-3.

The eighth seed advanced with 42 winners, 10 aces and breaks on five of 13 chances.

By stepping on the court in an uncharacteristic colour mix of bright purple t-shirt and pink shorts Federer set another minor record: he joins Japan’s Ai Sugiyama by playing in his 62nd consecutive grand slam event, the most ever.

The 33-year-old second seed is contesting his 17th successive Roland Garros, three short of the record held by Fabrice Santoro and Francois Jauffret.

The Swiss has slipped quietly under the radar, with top seed Novak Djokovic seeking his first Paris trophy and Nadal failing so far to find any clay-court traction this season in Europe and seeded an unprecedented sixth as a result.

In other matches, Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina won the third grand slam match of his career as Russian Mikhail Youzhny quit trailing 6-2 6-1 after bashing himself on the head with his racquet in frustration at least twice.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber stopped Go Soeda 6-0 6-1 6-2 while Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut put out Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3 6-1 6-3.

Lukas Rosol beat Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 6-3.

Women’s third seed and 2014 finalist Simona Halep struggled in her opener against Russian Evgeniya Rodina before producing a 7-5 6-4 win.

Halep lost a 4-1 lead in the opening set but was saved in the end by a double-fault from her rattled opponent. In the second, she secured a break in the ninth game and ended with an ace.

“I was a little bit stressed today because it is never easy to start such a tournament,” said Halep, who next takes on Mirjana Lucic-Baroni after the Croatian won her first Paris match since 2002.

Russian ninth seed Ekaterina Makarova beat Louisa Chirico 6-4 6-2 while Spain’s Garbine Muguruza defeated Petra Martic 6-2 7-5.

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