PARIS - Playing at the French Open as defending champion for the first time, Roger Federer gave the crowd plenty to cheer about yesterday, dipping into his considerable repertoire of shotmaking in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over 71st-ranked Peter Luczak of Australia.
With the end result far from in doubt, Federer turned the outing into a glorified practice session. He closed one extended exchange by slicing a backhand with so much spin that, after landing, the ball darted back toward the net, away from Luczak. Federer acknowledged the cheers by raising an index finger, lest somebody forget he's No. 1.
"If it was anyone else, I'd be getting pretty angry," said Luczak, whose career mark in Grand Slam matches fell to 5-14. "He just had me on a string and just [was] toying with me at the end. I think he was enjoying it."
Federer made only 11 unforced errors, won 50 of 64 points on his serve and faced one break point, which he saved.
"I was pretty relaxed," said Federer, who can tie Pete Sampras' record of 286 total weeks at No. 1 in the rankings June 7. "It was like a perfect match to get off the French Open campaign, really."
Other top players - even those who also won - were less pleased with their performances on Day 2, when a searing sun carried the temperature into the 80s and made the most grueling of tennis' surfaces even more of a test of fitness.
The No. 1-ranked woman, Serena Williams, for example, found little to smile about after following Federer into the main stadium and beating Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 7-6 (2), 6-2.
"I definitely didn't feel good about it," said Williams, who counts the 2002 French Open among her 12 major championships. "At least I won. I think I'm still in the tournament; that's what matters."
She compiled 10 aces, converted 3 of 3 break points and accumulated a 28-13 edge in winners. Asked what pleased her about the way she played, Williams replied: "Across the board, nothing, really, just to be honest."
It was not the sort of afternoon for long outings, but some players just can't seem to help themselves, such as No. 4 Andy Murray and former top-10 player Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet started well, but Murray finished well and won 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
Two seeded Spaniards lost, No. 21 Tommy Robredo and No. 27 Feliciano Lopez, while yesterday's winners included No. 3 Novak Djokovic, No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez, No. 13 Gael Monfils, No. 14 Ivan Ljubicic, No. 19 Nicolas Almagro, No. 25 Marcos Baghdatis, and three U.S. men: No. 17 John Isner, Taylor Dent and Mardy Fish.