Nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal began solidly with a first round straight sets victory over Frenchman Quentin Halys on Tuesday. The day-3 also saw men and women’s top seeds sailing into the second round as both Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams won their matches easily. But there were casualties as well. Men’s 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria made an early exit as did Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic. In men’s doubles, the campaign of Spanish duo Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez, the fourth seeds, also ended after their first-round loss to Mikhail Youzhny/Robin Haase.
For the past 10 years, Rafael Nadal has kept every aspirant from winning the French Open. Except Roger Federer in 2009, Nadal has won the title at Roland Garros 9 times. World no.1 Novak Djokovic, who has won everywhere else, is yet to win the French Open and his achievement of completing a career Grand Slam remains blocked by the Spaniard’s complete stranglehold of the French Open. Nadal’s form has taken a beating after his loss to Stan Wawrinka at the 2014 Australian Open but he still managed to retain the French Open title last year. The courts of Roland Garros are like his second home, where he has won 66 matches and lost just once. That was in the 2009, when Robin Soderling of Sweden defeated him in the fourth round. This year, Nadal has been seeded sixth, his lowest placement in ranks in a decade. On day-3 of the French Open on Tuesday, Nadal faced French wild card Quentin Halys and began his campaign of the tenth Roland Garros crown with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory. In slow, heavy conditions, Nadal didn’t exactly crush the 18-year-old Halys but his victory came from a terrifically consistent game in which his unforced error-count stayed at 13 to 52 made by Halys.
Top seeded Djokovic had problems in the second set against Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen as he slipped to 2-5 deficit in the second set. But the world no.1 pulled himself out of the ditch with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory in the end. Women’s top seed Serena Williams had an easy 6-2, 6-3 first round victory over Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova. Wimbledon champion and no.4 seed Petra Kvitova also reached the second round but not before dropping a set against New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic of New Zealand in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory. Also going through to the second round with comfortable victories were men’s no.7 seed David Ferrer of Spain and women’s no. 5 seed Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki..
One of Tuesday’s shock results was caused by Jack Sock of USA, when he defeated Bulgaria’s no.10 seed Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian offered some resistance in the first set that was finally won by Sock on tiebreak. Afterwards, Dimitrov played listlessly as Sock took the match 7-6, 6-2, 6-3. In women’s draw, the promising star of 2014 Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semifinals of Australian Open and French Open last year and made it to final at Wimbledon; lost tamely to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, 4-6, 4-6. The 21-year old Canadian has run into a serious loss of form this season and she is certainly going to drop from her current world no.6 ranking to way outside top 10. Bouchard’s decline has surprised lots of people and she has lost eight of her last nine matches this season with the lone victory coming two weeks back at the Rome Masters. Men’s doubles fourth seeds Spain’s Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez also went out of the French Open on Tuesday with a 3-6, 6-7 loss against Russian Mikhail Youzhny/Dutchman Robin Haase.
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