Federer's French Open dream splutters into life | india | Hindustan Times
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Federer's French Open dream splutters into life

Federer's bid to hold all 4 Grand Slam titles spluttered unconvincingly into life as he struggled to beat Diego Hartfield.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 20:37 IST

Roger Federer's bid to become the first man in 37 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles spluttered unconvincingly into life on Sunday as the Swiss top seed struggled to beat unknown Argentinian qualifier Diego Hartfield.

The world number one, bidding to win the only Grand Slam to have eluded him, clinched a 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 victory against a player ranked at a lowly 156 in the world and who was making his tour debut.

Federer, who will now face either Alejandro Falla of Colombia or America's Justin Gimelstob for a place in the third round, was a long way off the level of form he'll need if he is to unseat defending champion Rafael Nadal.

An ugly count of 49 unforced errors and an unexpected 2hr 36min on court will give him plenty to ponder for the challenges ahead.

Federer suffered the ignominy of losing his opening two service games as the 25-year-old Hartfield, a late replacement for scheduled opponent Arnaud Clement of France, swept into a 3-0 lead.

Federer struggled to impose his usual power and grace, constantly miss-hitting and mistiming in the testing cool and windy conditions on the Philippe Chatrier Court.