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French Open 2013: Novak Djokovic gets straight-set win in first round
Question of the Day
If Dimitrov — he and Maria Sharapova are an item, so he was asked Tuesday about dealing with paparazzi — reaches the third round, he could face Djokovic. That would be an intriguing matchup, given that Dimitrov defeated Djokovic on clay at Madrid three weeks ago.
“This is the kind of matches I’d always want to play in,” Dimitrov said. “I feel good on the big courts and playing against good players.”
Djokovic found Goffin in possession of that same attitude.
In 2012, Goffin got into the French Open field as a “lucky loser” — someone who loses in qualifying but is put in the main draw because another player withdrew — and made it all the way to the fourth round. That’s when Goffin got to face Roger Federer, his idol, and even took a set off the owner of the most career major titles before losing the match.
“He has a good chance to have a good future,” Djokovic said. “He likes playing here, obviously. He likes playing on a big stage.”
Perhaps. But Tuesday’s key moment came in the first-set tiebreaker, with Goffin serving at 5-all. After he faulted once, a fan yelled, “Allez, David!” The 22-year-old Goffin then proceeded to miss his second serve, too, for a double-fault that gave Djokovic a set point.
Goffin looked in the direction of the offending shout with palms up, as if to say, “What did you do that for?!”
“That’s what happens sometimes. When you play in Davis Cup, you see that on every serve, basically,” Goffin said. “Anyway, it was up to me to focus my mind. This is the type of thing that can happen, and can happen to anybody. So tough luck.”
His backhand into the net ceded the set to Djokovic, who had won fewer total points until then, 39-36.
Djokovic lost to seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in last year’s final. That ended Djokovic’s 27-match Grand Slam winning streak and, with it, his attempt to earn a fourth consecutive major championship.
Now Djokovic — who has won the Australian Open four times, and the U.S. Open and Wimbledon once each — really would love to pick up his first trophy at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam. Before the French Open began, he called it “the No. 1 priority of my year.”
He returned to that theme Tuesday: “I really want to do well here. I have high hopes for myself, and there is no secret about it.”
As Goffin walked toward the locker room after the match ended, Djokovic stopped what he was doing to join the crowd in applauding.
Then it was Djokovic’s turn to speak French to the fans during an interview, a post-match ritual that’s become de rigueur this week. Williams and Nadal did it, too (as did Federer, who has for years).
“I really wanted to finish tonight,” Djokovic said, “although I know the crowd wanted to watch a little longer.”
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