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Djokovic scores first-round win at French Open

Published May 28, 2013 3:53 pm

Title would give No. 1-ranked player a career Grand Slam.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Paris • Novak Djokovic does not try to hide his ambitions. He makes perfectly clear that he wants to win a French Open title more than anything.

Embarking on a bid to complete a career Grand Slam and fill the only glaring hole on his résumé, the No. 1-ranked Djokovic pulled out a tight first set en route to a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-5 victory Tuesday in the first round against David Goffin, a Belgian who was the surprise of Roland Garros a year ago.

"I love this Grand Slam," Djokovic said. "I really want to do well here."

The key moment came in the first-set tiebreaker, with the 58th-ranked Goffin serving at 5-all. After he faulted once, a fan yelled, "Allez, David!" The 22-year-old Goffin then proceeded to miss his second serve, too, for a double-fault that gave Djokovic a set point.

"That's what happens sometimes. When you play in Davis Cup, you see that on every serve, basically," Goffin said. "Anyway, it was up to me to focus my mind. This is the type of thing that can happen and can happen to anybody. So tough luck."

His backhand into the net then gave the set to Djokovic, who had won fewer total points until then, 39-36.

After that, though, there were not too many hiccups for Djokovic, although he did get broken at love by Goffin, evening the second set at 4-all. Djokovic broke right back and was really on his way.

In 2012, Goffin got into the French Open field as a "lucky loser" — someone who loses in qualifying but is put in the main draw because another player withdrew — and made it all the way to the fourth round. That's when he got to face Roger Federer, Goffin's idol. He even took a set off the owner of the most career major titles before losing the match.

"He has a good chance to have a good future," Djokovic said. "He likes playing here, obviously. He likes playing on a big stage."

Djokovic lost to seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the final a year ago in Paris. That ended Djokovic's 27-match Grand Slam winning streak and, with it, his attempt to earn a fourth consecutive major championship. —

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