Azarenka quits through injury; Murray, Serena progress

Azarenka, semi-finalist in 2013, hurt her knee midway through the second set and required a medical timeout. She saved a match point in the tie-break but after a second session of treatment in the decider, she called it quits.

Victoria Azarenka gets medical help during her match against Karin Knapp of Italy.   -  REUTERS

Andy Murray, a favourite to win the French Open, survived a scare to advance to the second round.   -  Reuters

Fifth seed Victoria Azarenka was knocked out of the French Open on Tuesday when she was forced to retire from her opening round tie with a knee injury.

Former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka went down 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 4-0 to Italy's world number 118 Karin Knapp. Azarenka, semi-finalist in 2013, hurt her knee midway through the second set and required a medical timeout. She saved a match point in the tie-break but after a second session of treatment in the decider, she called it quits.

Defending champion Serena Williams strolled into the second round of the French Open with a straight-sets victory over Magdalena Rybarikova on Tuesday. Williams is aiming to equal Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 grand slam titles at Roland Garros and the world number one started with an emphatic 6-2 6-0 thrashing of outsider Rybarikova in only 42 minutes.

Second seed Andy Murray completed his recovery from a two-set deficit against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek to advance to the French Open second round on Tuesday.

Trailing by two sets to one when play was suspended due to darkness on Monday, Murray returned to close out the fourth set before sealing a 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 victory over his 37-year-old opponent. Murray, a three-time Roland Garros semi-finalist, will play 164th-ranked French wildcard Mathias Bourgue for a place in the last 32.

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal stormed into the second round with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 mauling of Australia's Sam Groth.

Nadal, the fourth seed, took his overall record in Paris to 71 wins against just two losses. The Spaniard needed only 80 minutes to see off the big-serving Groth, committing just two unforced errors in the process. He next faces either Facundo Bagnis of Argentina or French qualifier Kenny de Schepper.

Novak Djokovic got his bid for a first French Open title off to a flying start with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win over Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun.





The top seed, bidding to become just the eighth man to secure a career Grand Slam, needed only 90 minutes to see off the world number 95. The 29-year-old top seed fired 35 winners past the 32-year-old Lu and broke serve on seven occasions. Djokovic, a beaten finalist in Paris on three occasions, goes on to face Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis in round two.

Meanwhile Angelique Kerber crashed out in the first round after losing 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Kiki Bertens, the world number 58.

Bertens, who won her second career title at Nuremberg on Saturday, broke Kerber twice to claim the opening set on Court Philippe Chatrier. Kerber responded in the second set to force a decider, but Dutchwoman Bertens completed a shock victory to set up a second-round tie against Italy's Camila Giorgi or French wildcard Alize Lim.