PARIS: Roger Federer cruised into the French Open second round before having to quickly sidestep a spectator who breached tight security to race towards the Swiss legend on the showpiece Philippe Chatrier Court.
Federer, the 2009 champion and seeded second this year, began his 62nd consecutive Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Colombian ‘lucky loser’ Alejandro Falla.
It was Federer’s eighth win in eight matches against Falla and he goes on to face Spain’s Marcel Granollers for a place in the last-32.
He fired 43 winners in the match but looked more concerned when a fan sprinted from the stands and past muscular security guards in an effort to grab a ‘selfie’ with the 17-time major winner.
Although the 33-year-old Federer was not harmed and the fan was prevented from reaching his target, the incident will lead to more questions over security at the event which has endured similar court invasions in the past.
Federer’s Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka took just 96 minutes to make the second round, seeing off Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori also progressed with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 win over France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Meanwhile, Romania’s Simona Halep, the 2014 runner-up and third seed, saw off Russian world number 91 Evgeniya Rodina 7-5, 6-4 and next faces Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the Croatian player who knocked her out of the US Open last year. “It’s not easy to start a new tournament but I am happy to be back in Paris where I have so many great memories from last year,” said the 23-year-old Halep, who was broken three times and committed 26 unforced errors.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2015.