Sixth seed Rafael Nadal began his quest for a record-extending tenth French Open crown with a routine 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over French wildcard Quentin Halys in Paris on Wednesday. The win helped the Spaniard improve to 67-1 at Roland Garros.
Top seed Novak Djokovic too began his campaign at the year’s second Slam with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. The Serb is now on a 23-match winning streak. David Ferrer and Marin Cilic too won while Grigor Dimitrov made an early exit.
In the women’s section, 19-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams had a smooth start to her 2015 French Open campaign. The top seed blitzed past Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3. Petra Kvitova also won but Eugenie Bouchard crashed out.
Rafael Nadal is now 67-1 at Roland Garros
Defending champion Rafael Nadal did not get much resistance from 18-year-old Quentin Halys who was making his Grand Slam debut. The Spaniard took one hour and 50 minutes to post the 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
In his post-match press conference, Nadal said he was happy with the way he played the match.
“I am happy with the way that I played. It is the first match and I played well enough. I think my forehand worked well for a lot of moments.”
Novak Djokovic starts bid for maiden French Open crown
Novak Djokovic who is looking to win his first French Open, was 2 points away from losing the second set against the experienced Finn Jarkko Nieminen. But the inspired Serb bounced back to win in straight sets – 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes.
Strong start by Serena Williams
World no. 1 Serena Williams who is seeking her third title at Roland Garros, blasted 25 winners to register a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Czech qualifier Andrea Hlavackova. With this win, the American is now 58-1 in Grand Slam first round matches.
Tough opener for Petra Kvitova
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova looked clueless for most parts of her opener against the 80th-ranked Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. But the fourth seed managed to summon all her fighting spirit to squeak through 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Upsets: Bouchard, Dimitrov out
Last year’s semi-finalist Eugenie Bouchard continues to be in a slump. The 21-year-old fell to an inspired Kristina Mladenovic who loves performing in front of her home crowd. The aggressive Frenchowoman knocked out the sixth-seeded Canadian 6-4, 6-4. This is Mladenovic’s fourth top 10 win and interestingly, all of them have come in the French capital.
It was the same fate for men’s 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov. Rising American Jack Sock extinguished hopes of the young Bulgarian with a 7-6(7), 6-2, 6-3 upset victory. This is the second straight year that Dimitrov had fallen in the opening round of the French Open.
Other big names who won on French Open Day 3
David Ferrer joined compatriot Rafael Nadal as only the second active player to notch 300 wins on clay when he defeated the 94th-ranked Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
Marin Cilic played his first Grand Slam of the year after missing the Australian Open due to a shoulder injury. The US Open champion comfortably won 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 over Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
15th seed Kevin Anderson was a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 winner over American Tim Smyczek. Home hopes were kept alive by Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy. While the 20th seeded Gasquet beat Belgian Germain Gigounon 6-3, 6-4, 6-0, Chardy reigned supreme 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 over Germany’s Michael Berrer. 16th seeded American John Isner also won.
In women’s singles, 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who reached the Madrid Open final this year, posted a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Kiki Bertens. Joining her was another former champion – Francesca Schiavone who triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 over Chinese Qiang Wang.
Other women’s seeds who progressed into the second round with straight-set victories were fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 10th seeded Andrea Petkovic and 16th seeded Madison Keys. Rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic also advanced on Day 3 and so did her compatriot Timea Bacsinszky.
However, former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic’s stay at the 2015 French Open was short-lived as she was bundled out by Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva 3-6, 4-6.
Mahesh Bhupathi out in men’s doubles first round
Indian ace Mahesh Bhupathi who had paired with Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios, crashed out of men’s doubles in the first round. The Indo-Australian duo lost 3-6, 1-6 to the French-Australian combination of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Lucas Pouille.
Stars to grace on Day 4:
Defending women’s champion Maria Sharapova will be looking for a berth in the third round. Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic will also be in action while in the men’s section, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori will be playing their second round matches.