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Murray, Verdasco among early winners at Roland Garros

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The Sports Network
5/24/2009 2:58:41 PM
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Paris, France (Sports Network) - Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco were among the early first round winners as the 2009 French Open got underway at Roland Garros.

The third-seeded Murray, still seeking his first Grand Slam title, was an easy 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 winner of Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela on the red clay. The Great Britain native needed 101 minutes to win the match, delivering 61 winners, compared to just 15 for Chela.

Murray will now face either Germany's Mischa Zverev or Italy's Potito Starace in the second round.

The eighth-seeded Verdasco needed a little over two hours to dispose of Frenchman Florent Serra 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. The Spaniard served 15 aces, compared to just two for Serra, while committing only 22 forced errors.

Also advancing was Marat Safin, the 20th seed from Russia, who also won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, over another Frenchman, Alexandre Sidorenko. The 29-year-old two-time Grand Slam winner is seeking his first French Open title and won 111-of-200 points in the match.

Seventh-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon needed all five sets to down American Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, in a match that lasted three hours, 43 minutes. Simon was able to manage 14 aces in the match, compared to just seven for Odesnik.

Other ranked action included 14th seed David Ferrer topping Portugal's Frederico Gil 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in just over two hours, 31st-seeded Nicolas Almagro cruising past Argentina native Agustin Calleri 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 and 13th- ranked Marin Cilic getting past Jan Hernych 6-0, 6-4, 6-3.

In addition, former World No. 1 Australian Lleyton Hewitt rallied from down two sets to defeat Ivo Karlovic in a five-set thriller.

After dropping two straight tiebreakers to start the match, Hewitt rallied for a 6-7 (1-7), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3 victory over the 26th-seeded Croat Karlovic. Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam winner, overcame Karlovic's dominant serve, which produced an ATP-tour record 55 aces on the red clay at Roland Garros, topping the old mark of 51, which Karlovic shared with Joachim Johansson. The mark also shattered the French Open record for aces, which had been held by American Andy Roddick, who blasted 37 in a single match in the event.

The match took nearly four hours to complete, as the 28-year-old Hewitt celebrated after a final Karlovic overhead smash attempt went long.

There was also another trio of unranked five-set matches on Sunday. France native Josselin Ouanna outlasted Spain's Marcel Granollers 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, Germany's Philipp Petzschner topped Canada's Peter Polansky 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3 and American Robert Kendrick defeated Daniel Brands 6-7 (7-9), 7-5, 7-6 (13-11), 4-6, 6-3.

Also Sunday, Israel's Dudi Sela topped Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev defeated Germany's Denis Gremelmayr, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2, Ernests Gulbis beat American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 and France's Mathieu Montcourt was an easy winner over Yen-Hsun Lu after Lu retired following the first set. Montcourt had won the first set, 6-2.

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the final for a third-straight year last season and is seeking an Open Era-record fifth straight title here at Roland Garros. Nadal and Federer are both off on Sunday.

Andy Murray (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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