PARIS, September 29
Novak Djokovic got his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title back on track as he commenced his French Open campaign with a drama-free 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory over Mikael Ymer today.
Little over three weeks since Djokovic was defaulted in the US Open fourth round for hitting a line judge with a ball, the Serb was as cool as a cucumber as he outclassed the young Swede.
Only a smattering of fans were inside Philippe Chatrier Court as Djokovic won the opening set in 20 minutes.
Djokovic did drop serve early in the second set when an attempted drop shot fell short but there was no angry response this time, just an ironic chuckle. The 33-year-old then led the applause for Ymer when he played a sensational between-the-legs winner Nick Kyrgios would have been proud of in the sixth game. But it was one-way traffic as Djokovic polished off the second set with his trademark clean hitting.
The 80th-ranked Ymer, facing a world No. 1 for the first time, stuck manfully to his task in the third set and Djokovic became a little sloppy as he handed back a service break with a double-fault after which he flexed his hand. Top seed Djokovic, bidding for a second French Open title, glared at someone in the crowd in the following game and re-focussed to reel off the last three games for victory. — Reuters
Different French Open, same start
It might be an unusual French Open but claycourt master Rafael Nadal started his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title in the usual way with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 6-2 first-round win against Belarusian Egor Gerasimov yesterday. On the revamped court Philippe Chatrier, whose roof stayed open throughout, Nadal converted all of his five break points to set up a meeting with American Mackenzie McDonald. The second seed, who had complained about the new balls being too heavy, did not appear too bothered in front of some 200 fans, wrapping up the match with a service winner. “It’s a different Roland Garros. Of course we play in the same place. But the conditions are completely different than any other Roland Garros that we’ve played,” said Nadal. Reuters
PLISKOVA, OSTAPENKO THROUGH
Second seed Karolina Pliskova overcame a sluggish start to beat Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif 6-7(9) 6-2 6-4 in the first round. Pliskova retired during the final of the Italian Open last week after receiving treatment on her back and leg. Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 champion, eased past American Madison Brengle 6-2 6-1.
KENIN STAVES OFF SAMSONOVA
Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin made a strong start against unseeded Russian Ludmilla Samsonova before losing momentum after a rain delay but the fourth seed recovered to seal a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory.
MEDVEDEV FALLS AT FIRST HURDLE
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev suffered an opening round defeat for a fourth consecutive year at Roland Garros as he went down against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-6(3) 2-6 6-1. The 24-year-old Russian, who finished the match with 51 unforced errors, took a one-point penalty for smashing his racquet at the end of the second set tiebreak.
KERBER CRASHES OUT
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who has won the other three Grand Slams, was once again well below par in Paris as she committed 30 unforced errors in a 6-3 6-3 defeat by Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan, her fourth first-round exit in the last five years.
Garbine Muguruza bt Tamara Zidansek 7-5 4-6 8-6; Laura Siegmund bt Kristina Mladenovic 7-5 6-3; Clara Tauson bt Jennifer Brady 6-4 3-6 9-7; Elena Rybakina bt Sorana Cirstea 6-0 6-3
Andrey Rublev bt Sam Querrey 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 6-3; Kevin Anderson bt Laslo Dere 6-2 6-3 6-4; Cristian Garin bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 4-6 6-1 6-4; Pablo Carreno Busta bt John Millman 6-3 6-2 7-5; Matteo Berrettini bt Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3