Federer equals Connors’ win record

Federer equals Connors’ win record

PARIS - The Associated Press
Federer equals Connors’ win record

Swiss superstar Roger Federer beat German Tobias Kamke in three straight sets in his 233rd career Grand Slam win. AP photo

Roger Federer equaled Jimmy Connors’ record of 233 career Grand Slam match wins by beating Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open yesterday.

Federer, who owns a record 16 major championships, is 233-35 at tennis’ top four tournaments, a .869 winning percentage. Connors was 233-49.

Kamke, meanwhile, fell to 6-10 in Grand Slam matches. He’s never been past the third round.

Federer turned 30 last August and is trying to become the first man at least that old to win a Grand Slam tournament since Andre Agassi was 32 at the 2003 Australian Open. Federer has gone more than two years since his last major title - his longest drought since winning No. 1 at Wimbledon in 2003.

Meanwhile, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka survived a scare in the first round yesterday.

The Australian Open champion, who took over the No. 1 ranking by winning in Melbourne, came back to beat Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2.

Brianti, a 32-year-old veteran who has won one WTA title in her career, won the first set and then led 4-0 in the second before losing six straight games.

Although Azarenka won 12 of the last 14 games, she struggled with her game throughout, committing 60 unforced errors.

Azarenka started the 2012 season with a 26-match winning streak. Her first loss came in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Azarenka was first up in the main stadium, and she didn’t look good at the start. In the first set alone, she had 28 unforced errors.

No top-seeded woman has ever lost in the first round at the French Open since the tournament began to allow foreign entrants in 1925.

In the other Grand Slam tournaments, it has happened four times, most recently when top-ranked and top-seeded Martina Hingis lost in the first round at Wimbledon in 2001.