Djokovic bid for history off to winning start
Date published :
28 May 2012 - 17:16:54
Novak Djokovic's bid to become the first man in 43 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles stays on track after Monday's French Open first round win over Italian Potito Starace.
After a tough opening set forced him to go the distance in the tiebreak, Djokovic won his encounter on the main Phillipe Chatrier Court 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-1 in 2hr 04min to book a meeting with Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia.
World number one Djokovic already has the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open crowns under wraps and a first French Open triumph in two weeks' time would make him the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the sweep.
Of the seven men to win all the four majors in their careers, only Don Budge and Laver (twice) have held all four at the same time.
Since Laver's 1969 achievement, only Pete Sampras, Federer and defending Roland Garros champion Nadal have had opportunities to complete a non-calendar year Grand Slam.
Djokovic has yet to reach a Paris final, having fallen three times at the semi-final stage.
Starace, ranked 97, counts clay as his favourite surface but has never gone beyond the third round here and he was cannon fodder for Djokovic in this form.
After pushing his rival all the way in the opening set the Italian thereafter was outclassed as Djokovic banged down six aces and did the bare minimum in picking off four of 15 break chances despite finding the swirling breeze off-putting.
"Potito is a specialist on this surface but I played well considering it was the first match at this year's Roland Garros," said Djokovic, who won rousing applause for conducting his on-court interview in French.
"There was a breeze out there which I didn't like, just like all the players.
"I hope to go on and get good results, but it's too early to talk about the final," he insisted.