Federer equals Connors record

Updated: May 29, 2012

Roger Federer celebrated his 50th straight major with a record-equalling 233rd Grand Slam win.

Federer, the 2009 champion and four times runner-up to Rafael Nadal, endured few problems getting past Germany’s Tomas Kamke, the world number 78, winning 6-2, 7-5, 6-3.

The win, achieved on a sixth match point, took him level with Jimmy Connors’ 30-year-old record of 233 Grand Slam match wins.

Monday’s victory was also his 50th against 12 losses at Roland Garros having made his debut as a wildcard in 1999 where he went down to Australia’s Pat Rafter in the first round.

Since that time, he has missed just one Grand Slam – the 1999 US Open where he failed to qualify.

Top seed Djokovic, bidding to become only the third man to hold all four majors at the same time, and the first in 43 years since Rod Laver in 1969, eased past Italian claycourt specialist Potito Starace 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-1.

Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, a former world No 1, lost 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 to Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic while Spanish 15th seed Feliciano Lopez retired against French qualifier Florent Serra with a stomach strain.

American 10th seed John Isner, who took six-time champion Nadal to five sets in the first round last year, went through by beating Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

In the ladies draw Victoria Azarenka battled back from a set and 4-0 down to defeat Italy’s Alberta Brianti on Monday and avoid becoming the first top seed in history to be knocked out in the French Open first round.

World No 1 Azarenka won 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2 and will face German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier for a place in the last 32.

Chinese defending champion Li Na overpowered Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-1 on Monday to advance to the second round of the French Open, sustaining Asia’s hopes of another Grand Slam title.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska made short work of her first opponent at the French Open, flattening Serbian Bojana Jovanovski 6-1 6-0 in 49 minutes on Monday.

Radwanska set up a second-round meeting with American former world number one Venus Williams, who is finding her feet in tennis again after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.