Paris, France – Last year's runner-up Novak Djokovic posted a hard-fought opening-round victory Tuesday at the French Open.
The world No. 1 star got past capable Belgian David Goffin in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5, in 2 hours, 13 minutes on a weather-delayed day at Roland Garros.
A 2 1/2-hour rain delay opened the chilly day before even more rain came to send players scurrying off the clay courts Tuesday afternoon.
But Djokovic and the rest of the players patiently waited for their outings, and Djokovic ultimately improved to 7-1 in his last eight matches in the southwest corner of Paris. He broke Goffin three times, while the Belgian could manage only one break over three quality sets.
The Australian Open champion and U.S. Open runner-up Djokovic reached his first-ever French Open final last year, only to lose to the great seven-time champion Rafael Nadal. He needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.
"This is the tournament that is the No. 1 priority of my year, of my season," Djokovic said on the eve of the French Open. "This is where I want to win, and I'm going to go for it. I think my game is there, and I'm very, very motivated."
Djokovic's second-round opponent will be rising 83rd-ranked Argentine Guido Pella.
Meanwhile, ninth-seeded Swiss slugger Stanislas Wawrinka topped Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-5, 12th-seeded German Tommy Haas handled France's Guillaume Rufin 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-3, and 16th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber held off Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Resurgent oft-injured Russian Dmitry Tursunov took out 22nd-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 7-6 (9-7); rising 26th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was leading Alejandro Falla 6-4, 1-0 when the Colombian retired from their match due to indigestion; Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin got past 28th-seeded German Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, retired; and 29th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny overcame Spaniard Pablo Andujar 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Some other first-round wins came for Russian Nikolay Davydenko, Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, Romanian Victor Hanescu, and American Jack Sock, who beat Spanish clay-courter Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 and will next face Haas in the round of 64. Hanescu was leading Aussie Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (10-8), 2-1 when Tomic retired with a hamstring injury. The one-time world No. 3 and two-time Roland Garros semifinalist Davydenko topped France's Florent Serra 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
Some of Tuesday's scheduled opening-round matches were either suspended or postponed because of darkness.
The first round is scheduled to conclude and the second round is slated to begin on Wednesday, including matches for second-seeded former No. 1 Roger Federer, fourth-seeded David Ferrer and sixth-seeded French favorite Jo- Wilfried Tsonga. The reigning Wimbledon and 2009 French Open titlist Federer will battle Indian Somdev Devvarman on Day 4.