Rafael Nadal stamped his authority on Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 as Spain’s king of clay began the quest for a 12th title at the French Open on Monday.
After fighting off four break points in the opening game from an opponent who had said he was hopeful of upsetting the status quo, Nadal proved unstoppable as he motored into the second round.
He has now won his last 17 Roland Garros matches and stands an impeccable 15-0 in first rounds here.
The match start at French lunchtime meant the stands were sparsely populated, a fact which only increased the 32-year-old’s appetite for a quick victory in less than two hours.
The second seed – now 112-2 in best-of-five-set clay matches – is bidding to become the first man or woman to complete the Dirty Dozen of Roland Garros trophies.
“I did a lot of things well, not many mistakes. I was very solid all the time,” Nadal said.
“But the first round is more about what I have to do better. My general feelings were positive. I’m happy to be through to the second round in straight sets – that’s the main thing today.”
Top seed Novak Djokovic, on a quest of his own to win a fourth consecutive title at a major, accounted for Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
The world No. 1 claimed his 22nd Grand Slam match-win in a row and is dreaming of becoming the second man in history to hold all four titles at the majors simultaneously (first time: 2016) after Rod Laver (1962 and 1969).
“I like the fact that I had a very good quality opponent in the first round, because that gets me going with the right intensity from the start.
“I’m focused, I’m determined, and sharp from the blocks.
“Even though I never played him, never faced him in official match, I still felt he can be a great threat if I allow him to play his tennis.”I actually thought I played well. All the elements in my game worked well, so I’m very pleased.”
Gemany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber broke a personal duck, winning his first match here since 2015 with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1.defeat of Dutchman Robin Haase
Over-hyped American hope Frances Tiafoe, the subject of a glowing GQ magazine feature just days ago, is now winless after four Paris editions.
Tiafoe fell to Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 after nearly three hours on court.
Tiafoe said he was feeling unwell later in the match, vomiting but playing on.
You work so hard, obviously it’s a Grand Slam, so you want to do your best and you have this random illness that you have no idea why it’s occurring.
“It’s tough to lose like that,” he said. Swiss men administered a one-two winning punch, with Stan Wawrinka and Henri Laaksonen advancing 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka put out Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3, riding a wave of 48 winners.
Lucky loser Laaksonen, who discovered only last year that his favourite food, salmon, was producing a severe allergic reaction which included debilitating muscle pain, is playing the main draw here for the first time in four editions.
The 27-year-old Finnish-born No. 104 started off his fourth Grand Slam appearance with a 6-1, 6-0, 7-6(4) defeat of Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez.
France got a boost as Pierre-Hugues Herbet outlasted Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, with the winner coming back from two sets to love down.
The effort took almost four hours, with the winner saving 18 of 23 break points while breaking seven times from 16 chances.
Richard Gasquet provided another home-court thrill, beating Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Defeat leaves the German with only one ATP victory this season, from the Miami second round more than two months ago.
Gilles Simon made it three for the hosts, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did his part, 7-6(4), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 over German Peter Gojowczyk.
Serena Williams ducked a potential first-round defeat at the French Open on Monday as she went into recovery mode for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Russian Vitalia Diatchenko.
Williams, who wore a catsuit on court here a year ago and found the skintight anti-blood clot garment later banned by the tournament, fronted up on the Chatrier showcourt in a black-white split leg two-piece decorated in patterned stripes.
The 37-year-old who has played just eight complete matches this season, lost the opening set after saving a pair of set points for her 28-year-old opponent ranked 83.
But Williams regained some form to engineer the comeback into the second round to earn her 800th victory in a main draw.
“Physically I felt pretty good. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of injuries. I sprained my ankle in Australia and everything went downhill from there,” she said. “I think I’m finally on the mend.
“I just got nervous out there and I stopped moving my feet,” she said of her slow start. “It was, like, concrete blocks on my feet.
“I’m always a little nervous in Grand Slams, especially in the first round.”
Madrid champion and fourth seed Kiki Bertens continued the title-winning form she showed in Madrid, starting with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of France’s No. 66 Pauline Parmentier, playing here for the 15th straight time.
“It was a good win today,” Bertens said. “It’s always tough first round in a slam against a French girl.
“I’m just happy to get through, happy that it was a good fight.”
Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova inflicted another home loss on the hosts, defeating Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-3.
Former WTA No. 1 Carolina Wozniacki suffered her third first-round Paris defeat and first since 2014 as she went down to Viktoria Kudermetova 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Defeat of the 13th-seeded Dane gave the 22-year-old Russian winner the biggest victory of her career;
Wozniacki lost her fourth clay match in succession.
“I played really well in the first set. I played aggressive. I played the way I wanted to play,” Wozniacki, who won the first seven games before fading, said.
“I think she got very lucky in the start of the second set and took advantage of the opportunities she got.
“I lost a little steam in the end and I made some unforced errors, that was very frustrating.
“I haven’t had the best lead-up to this tournament, which also has been frustrating. But, right now there’s nothing I can do about it, so…”
Wozniacki had been suffering with a leg problem in the run-up to the major.
“I had a calf injury, so I hadn’t really been able to play or practise for some weeks. I played my first points a couple of days ago and then just went from there basically.”
Brit Johanna Konta, losing Rome finalist last weekend, won her first Roland Garros match in five attempts as she posted a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of German Antonia Lottner.
While British press had long been interest in the victory breakthrough, the win was routine for Konta.
“It’s nice to have won a main-draw match here, but I didn’t really look at it too much. I’m happy to have dealt with the challenges of today, I’m pleased to have come through.”
Australia’s eighth seed Ash Barty beat Jessica Pegula of the US 6-3, 6-3.