Paris • The top-seeded players had early starts at the French Open on Wednesday, and both Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka made it to the third round without a problem.
A short time later, 2009 champion Roger Federer joined them, earning his record-breaking 234th victory at Grand Slam tournaments.
Federer had an easy run in the first two sets, but then wasted two match points in the third. He saved all six break points to beat Adrian Ungur of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“Instead of being aggressive, I let him show me what he could do,” Federer said of the tiebreaker. “He played two beautiful shots, and then I started not playing very well.”
The 16-time Grand Slam champion broke a tie with Jimmy Connors for most career wins at major tournaments in the Open era, which began in 1968. He is now 234-35 in tennis’ top four tournaments, an .870 winning percentage.
Meanwhile, former top-ranked player Venus Williams was eliminated, a day after little sister Serena lost in the first round. The seven-time Grand Slam champion, who was playing at a major tournament for the first time since revealing she had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, lost to third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 6-3.
“I felt like I played,” Williams said after making a hard-to-fathom 33 unforced errors, 27 more than Radwanska. “That pretty much sums it up.”
Djokovic was first up on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and he was barely troubled by Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, winning 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 for his 23rd straight Grand Slam victory.
“I gave him the opportunity to come back to the match after a perfect first set, first seven games,” Djokovic said. “But, look, this is tennis.”
In the main stadium at Roland Garros, Azarenka defeated Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany 6-1, 6-1 — two days after struggling to win her opening match.
“Being No. 1 is a difficult job, because everybody want to catch you, everybody want to move you from the spot,” Azarenka said. “Nothing is going to come easy just because you’re No. 1. You actually have more people … motivated trying to beat you.”
No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina also made it into the third round.
Azarenka, who took over the No. 1 ranking after winning the Australian Open, easily advanced against Pfizenmaier, a 20-year-old German who was making her Grand Slam debut.
In the first round, Azarenka struggled early before winning 12 of the final 14 games to advance. She committed 60 unforced errors in that opening match, but brought that number down to 11 on Wednesday.
“Definitely played much better today,” said Azarenka, who reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last year, matching her best performance at the clay-court Grand Slam.
U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur advanced, beating Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4. No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, also moved on.
R Roger Federer earns his record-breaking 234th Grand Slam match victory, defeating Adrian Ungur of Romania.
• Top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka earns straight-sets wins.
• Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams loses to third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
Men’s Open Era Grand Slam match wins
Player Years Wins
Roger Federer 1999-12 234
Jimmy Connors 1970-92 233
Andre Agassi 1986-06 224
Ivan Lendl 1978-94 222
Pete Sampras 1988-02 203