French Open: No worries for Nadal and Djokovic but Ferrer needs marathon to progress

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were barely troubled as the heavyweight duo came through their opening rounds at the French Open on Monday.

The pair have won the Roland Garros title on 10 occasions between them and are expected to go deep into the tournament this year, with a potential semi-final meeting in the pipeline.

Marcel Granollers and Benoit Paire were unable to provide an early round upset as Djokovic and Nadal both secured straight-set wins respectively, but it was a bad day for Mischa Zverev, Jack Sock and home favourite Gilles Simon.

Mischa Zverev was beaten by world number 187 Stefano Napolitano, while his brother Alexander saw bad light bring an early end to his match with Fernando Verdasco – much to the ire of the fans on Court Philippe Chatrier – with the pair tied at one set all.

There was a huge scare for former finalist David Ferrer as he needed a 13-11 win in the fifth set to see off Donald Young, while French hope Richard Gasquet battled past Arthur De Greef 6-2 3-6 6-1 6-3.


A win is all you need in round one and that is exactly what Djokovic did, albeit with a rusty performance against Granollers.

Sloppy mistakes blighted the Serbian’s first game under the tutelage of Andre Agassi, Djokovic racking up 29 unforced errors while only converting eight of his 20 break chances.

“I just played very bad games on my serve,” he admitted after his 6-3 6-4 6-2 win. “It was a bit of rusty start, but in general, it was good.”

Next up for the reigning champion is Joao Sousa after he came from a set down to beat Janko Tipsarevic on Court 18.



History beckons for Nadal in Paris as he looks to become the first player to win a single grand slam on 10 occasions, and his quest was never going to be halted by Paire.

Some expected the Frenchman to provide a tough test but Nadal was in no mood to make an early departure, leaving Paire as one of six home hopes to bow out.

“Every time I play against Rafa the games are not so good,” he said.

“Of course he’s exceptional. He moves really fast, he hits really hard, but I miss a lot of opportunities when I’m against him.

“It’s of course very frustrating every time I play against Nadal I think that I have missed something, so there are quite a lot of regrets there. I think I could have done better.”


Former finalist Ferrer – seeded 30th for the tournament – had a long day on court as he got his campaign underway against Young, the pair in action for nearly four and a half hours.

Momentum switched from one player to the other and in the inevitable deciding set there was little between them, so after 16 successive holds of serve the score was 12-11 to Ferrer.

Finally the Spaniard was able to apply pressure and at the third time of asking he wrapped up a memorable win.

He was not the only seed to get through, albeit Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and David Goffin had much easier opening matches.


Spare a thought for top men’s doubles seed John Peers as he prepares to begin his tournament on Tuesday, the Australian – who will play with Henri Kontinen – still has not got his rackets with him.

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