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World number one Novak Djokovic began his French Open title defense with a straight-set victory

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World number one Novak Djokovic began his French Open title defense with a straight-set victory over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.


Djokovic of Serbia won 6-3 6-1 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier, dropping only four games. Djokovic was making his Grand Slam debut after being deported from Australia before the Australian Open in January.


Earlier, Rafael Nadal defeated Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-2 6-2.


Djokovic was unable to defend his Australian Open title after being deported due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, and he faced being barred from Roland Garros until France lifted restrictions in nearly all public spaces in March.


The 20-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season on the court, suffering shock defeats in Monte Carlo and Belgrade before regrouping to win his first title in six months without dropping a set at the Italian Open last week.


Djokovic, who could face Nadal in the quarter-finals as he attempts to equal the Spaniard’s record haul of 21 major titles, maintained his strong form from Rome, dispatching Nishioka in just under two hours.
After a low-key first set, Djokovic ramped up the intensity in the second, dropping just one game while breaking Nishioka’s serve in four games, prompting jeers from sections of the crowd at times.
Djokovic, who turned 35 on Sunday, cruised to victory in the third set, improving his record in Roland Garros first-round matches to 18-0 after converting eight of 18 break points.


He will next face either Federico Coria of Argentina or Alex Molcan of Slovakia, who is coached by Djokovic’s former long-time coach Marian Vajda.


“I have to be happy with the result,” Djokovic said.


“In the first set, I struggled to adapt.


He is an extremely quick player.


The first set was close, but the second and third were easy.


“I always set high standards for myself, but this was a great start.


“In the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling great on clay.


I’m glad to be back.


Last year’s memories are still fresh in my mind.”


Nadal began his quest for a record-extending 14th men’s title on Monday with a commanding straight-set victory over Australia’s Thompson.


The Spaniard, aiming to reclaim his title after Djokovic’s victory in 2021, won 6-2 6-2 6-2.

It was the 35-year-old fifth seed’s 106th French Open victory, and he will face Corentin Moutet in the second round after the Frenchman defeated 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka.


“I’m overjoyed with today’s victory.


I’m content to finish in three sets “said Nadal, who is seeded outside the top four in Paris for the first time in his career.


“It’s a first-round match, and I’m looking forward to it. Straight sets, but with a lot of room for improvement.”


Nadal was troubled by a recurrence of a chronic foot injury earlier this month at the Italian Open, but he appeared to be moving freely against world number 82 Thompson.


With a backhand volley winner, the record 21-time men’s Grand Slam champion broke for 2-1 in the first set and moved 4-1 up with a crushing forehand.


As an increasingly frustrated Thompson ran out of ideas, Nadal broke serve in the first, fifth, and seventh games to take the second set.


Thompson did get a break back in the third, but Nadal’s forehand volley made it 3-2, and he won the next three games to advance.


Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Hungary’s Attila Balazs 6-0 6-1 6-2, while American 13th seed Taylor Fritz defeated Argentina’s Santiago Rodriguez Taverna in five sets, 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-4.


Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 22nd seed from Georgia, also won in five sets, coming back from two sets down to defeat Fritz’s fellow countryman Maxime Cressy.
7-6 (10-8) 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6


There were ten matches still in progress when play was halted due to rain delays; play will resume on Tuesday.


Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Hungary’s Attila Balazs 6-0 6-1 6-2, while American 13th seed Taylor Fritz defeated Argentina’s Santiago Rodriguez Taverna in five sets, 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-4.


Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 22nd seed from Georgia, also won in five sets, coming back from two sets down to defeat Fritz’s fellow countryman Maxime Cressy.


7-6 (10-8) 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6


There were ten matches still in progress when play was halted due to rain delays; play will resume on Tuesday.

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