Published January 13, 2015
World No. 1 superstar and former champion Serena Williams, Australian Open titlist Victoria Azarenka and last year's Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska were a trio of winners Wednesday at the French Open.
The sizzling-hot 2002 French Open winner Williams won her 26th straight match on tour by lambasting French wild card Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2 in only 62 minutes on Court Chatrier.
"It's important for me to win easily," Williams said. "It's also important for me to play well. If I play well, it will bode well for me at Roland Garros."
The 15-time Grand Slam singles champion is now 69-3 since a shocking first- round loss at the hands of French journeywoman Virginie Razzano at last year's French Open. The 30-year-old Razzano came from behind to beat Slovak Zuzana Kucova 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 on Wednesday and could face Williams in a rematch in the quarterfinals if both players win two more matches this week.
The 31-year-old reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open titlist Williams is trying to reach her first French Open semifinal in 10 years.
Her third-round opponent will be Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
The third-seeded former No. 1 Azarenka finally played her first-round match and handled Russian Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-4 on the famed red clay at Roland Garros, while the fourth-seeded Radwanska looked good in her second-rounder by pasting American Mallory Burdette 6-3, 6-2.
Rain wreaked havoc on the schedule Tuesday, as it took four days to complete round one.
"I felt like I'm one of the last ones to start," Azarenka said. "It was a long wait, but I think performance-wise it was a good match."
The reigning two-time Aussie Open champ will face German Annika Beck in round two.
Radwanska, meanwhile, has never advanced beyond the fourth round in Paris and was a third-round upset victim here a year ago.
She could've faced her sister, Urszula, in the next round if the younger sibling, who knocked out Venus Williams in the first round, beat German Dinah Pfizenmaier on Day 4. Her German counterpart, however, prevailed in 6-3, 6-3 fashion and will next face the older Radwanska.
Fifth-seeded 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani won her eighth match in nine tries at Roland Garros by throttling Russian Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-1. The gritty Italian lost to Maria Sharapova in last year's French finale and will meet German Sabine Lisicki in her next outing.
Seventh-seeded former Wimbledon champion and 2012 French Open semifinalist Petra Kvitova outlasted Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the second round, while eighth-seeded German Angelique Kerber landed in the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 spanking of Slovak Jana Cepelova.
A second-round upset came when Serb Bojana Jovanovski took out 10th-seeded struggling Dane Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. The former world No. 1 Wozniacki has posted only one clay-court win since early last month and has now lost before the quarterfinals in Paris six times in seven trips.
Former French Open winner Ana Ivanovic moved on, as the 14th-seeded former No. 1 star whipped France's Mathilde Johansson 6-2, 6-2. The Serbian Ivanovic captured the French title in 2008 and was the 2007 runner-up.
Fifteenth-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci held off Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, while Czech Petra Cetkovska ousted 19th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 20th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro came back to beat American Shelby Rogers 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, and a 26th- seeded Cirstea subdued Swede Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-4 in the round of 64.
Some other second-round results saw 29th-seeded American Varvara Lepchenko get past Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, a 32nd-seeded Lisicki drill Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-4, 6-0, former French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova come back to best Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 1-6, 6-2, 6-2, and 19-year-old Puerto Rican Monica Puig drive out 18-year-old American Madison Keys 6-4, 7-6 (7-2). The Russian veteran Kuznetsova titled here in 2009 and was the Roland Garros runner-up in 2006.
In other opening-round play involving seeds, No. 12 Maria Kirilenko of Russia rolled past fellow countrywoman Nina Bratchikova 6-0, 6-1, in-form Estonian Kaia Kanepi took out No. 23 Czech Klara Zakopalova 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, and American Jamie Hampton doused No. 25 Czech Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 9-7. Kanepi has now won six straight matches, including her clay-court title last week in Brussels. Hampton was one of 10 American women to win first-round matches this week.
Additional opening-round wins came for the aforementioned Beck, Swiss Stefanie Voegele, Aussie Ashleigh Barty, last week's Brussels runner-up Peng Shuai of China, and Slovak Anna Schmiedlova.
The second round is scheduled to conclude on Thursday, including matches for the second-seeded and defending champion Sharapova and Azarenka. The former world No. 1 Sharapova will battle rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, while Azarenka will meet Beck.
Thursday's schedule will also feature sixth-seeded Aussie Open runner-up and former French Open champion Li Na, Kvitova, ninth-seeded former U.S. Open champion and former French Open finalist Sam Stosur, and 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens. Li will tangle with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Stephens will be opposed by compatriot Vania King.