Federer through after shaky start

Roger Federer recovered from a first-set wobble to cruise into the third round of the French Open after a rain-hit victory over Alejandro Falla.

Roger Federer recovered from a first-set wobble to cruise into the third round of the French Open after a rain-hit victory over Alejandro Falla.

Defending champion Federer made an error-strewn start to his second outing of this year’s tournament, giving his opponent a chance to serve for the first set.

But he survived the scare before shrugging off two rain disruptions to win 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-4 on Philippe Chatrier Court and set up a clash with Olivier Rochus or Julian Reister.

Robin Soderling and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga enjoyed horribly one-sided second-round wins to beat the rain on Suzanne Lenglen Court.

Last year’s runner-up Soderling was in action for just one hour 11 minutes in his 6-0 6-1 6-1 victory over the hapless Taylor Dent.

Seemingly determined to match the feat on the same court, Tsonga’s 6-0 6-1 6-4 success against fellow Frenchman Josselin Ouanna lasted only eight minutes longer.

Soderling, who also dropped just five games in his first-round win against French wildcard Laurent Recouderc, admitted he could not recall playing a three-set match that finished so quickly.

“Maybe I did, but I don’t remember,” said the fifth seed, who will play Albert Montanes in round three after the 29th seed waltzed past Tobias Kamke 6-3 6-2 6-1.

“Of course, second round of a grand slam, you’re not expecting to win that fast.

“But I played well and I got off to a great start.”

Soderling hopes the manner of his victories bodes well for another run deep into the tournament.

“What matters is that I won two matches and I’m in the third round,” said the Swede, who reached his maiden grand slam final last year after becoming the first man ever to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

“And I will always get a new chance to play better and better for every match.

“Of course, I’m feeling good. I won two matches pretty easily in straight sets, and I didn’t have to run for many hours on court so far, so I feel fresh and prepared for the next round.”

Tsonga’s win could hardly have been in greater contrast to Sunday’s epic five-set first-round success against Daniel Brands.

The number eight seed used his post-match press conference today to blast tournament organisers for rejecting his pleas to play on Monday or Tuesday instead.

Claiming Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt and Americans all have a say in when they play during their home grand slams, he added: “Today we’re in France, I’m French, I’m French number one.

“I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to, that I would be given a choice. They should listen to me when I wanted to play or start.”

Tsonga will face number 32 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Thiemo De Bakker next.

Other players to beat the rain today included 10th seed Marin Cilic, who enjoyed a 6-3 7-6 (7/4) win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver, and 11th seed Mikhail Youzhny, who came from a set down to beat Lukas Lacko 6-7 (8/10) 6-3 6-3 6-2.

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