French Open: Novak Djokovic made to sweat

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NOVAK Djokovic was given a stern reminder that winning a maiden French Open title this year will not be easy after coming through a testing first-round encounter against determined Belgian David Goffin yesterday.

The top seed and last year’s runner-up is looking to complete his set of grand-slam titles in the Roland Garros fortnight, but his opening opponent provided a stiff challenge. Goffin largely matched the World No 1 stroke for stroke and Djokovic had to produce some of his best tennis to claim a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5 win in two hours and 13 minutes.

Djokovic is bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win back-to-back singles slams in Australia and France.

Australian hope Bernard Tomic’s season did not get any better as he retired during his first-round match against Victor Hanescu.

Tomic has won only five tour matches since January and his ranking has slipped to 61st. Yesterday’s match began badly when he needed treatment for an apparent hamstring problem early on. Tomic continued, but lost both the first two sets and called it a day when Romanian Hanescu went a break up in the third to lead 7-5, 7-6 (10-8), 2-1.

Meanwhile, Nikolay Davydenko has announced that he will skip Wimbledon this year for this first time since 2002 to concentrate on the remaining clay court events.