Top guns in the men’s draw Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal made winning start at the French Open on Monday and moved into the second round of the second Grand Slam of the year in comfortable fashion. World No 2 Djokovic, playing on Philippe-Chatrier Court, beat Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 while Nadal took out Frenchman and battling Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 on Suzanne-Lenglen Court. (Men’s Singles Results | Women’s Singles Results)
Under watchful eye of new coach Andre Agassi, Djokovic looked his comfortable self as he begins quest to defend the title he won last year in fourth attempt. The Serb had parted company with his entire coaching staff in the weeks coming into the tournament and amid multiple changes in his life, most things remained the same for The Djoker. He looked in good control on both sides of the court and the celebrations – surrounding the ballkids and appreciating the crowd – remained the same.
Djokovic grabbed two breaks early on in the first set and Granollers – who had been the lucky recepient of Nadal’s retirement last year – had no answer to Nole’s dominant game. Djokovic went up 4-1 in the second set but failed to convert eight set points when at 5-3. Eventually, though, he got himself out of the cage to hold on and win the second set.
With Granollers’ mistakes accumulating, Djokovic needed just one match point to close out the match. He will next take on Joao Sousa of Portugal in the second round.
Over on the other court, on at the same time, Nadal – chasing his tenth French Open title – fought off the resistance provided by Paire in the second set while producing solid court coverage to bag the win. The Spaniard had answers to almost everything that Paire threw at him – including the deft drop shots. Rafa, though, was left short on plenty of instances on Paire’s big forehands down the line which moved the Spaniard sideways on the forehand side.
Paire led the second set 4-3 while breaking Nadal’s serve twice in a row and banking on a largely local crowd who voiced their support for the temperamental World No 45.
In the opening and deciding sets, Paire had no reply for Nadal’s groundstrokes and overall strong game. Nadal will now face Robin Haase in the second round after he beat Alex De Minaur on Sunday.