French Open: Venus Williams Cruises, Women’s 10th Seed Falls

Venus Williams extended her mastery of Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, winning 6-3 6-3 in the first round of the French Open. Williams,the second seed, needed four match points to close out the hard-fighting Schnyder and extend her winning streak against the Swiss star to 11 straight matches. Tenth seed Victoria Azarenka, however, was not as lucky as Williams, as the 20-year-old Belarusian bowed to Gisela Dulko of Argentina in straight sets, 1-6 2-6.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer may just have received some help in his bid to retain his title as 23rd said Ernests Gulbis, considered a threat to the Swiss ace, retired while trailing Julien Benneteau, 6-4, 6-2, 1-0. Another player who is touted as pretender to the men’s crown, home bet and eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga escaped with a five-set win over Daniel Brands, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.

In other matches, men’s 11th seed Mikhail Youzhny won against Michal Przysiezny, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4, while women’s sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova trump Sorana Cirstea, 6-3 6-1.