Paris | Djokovic eases into Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic, the defending champion at this year’s French Open, closed the first round of matches with a straight sets win over local boy Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

I don’t know how long I’ll have opportunities to play at a high level so I try to use it, I try to do everything I possibly can to win Novak Djokovic

While it wasn’t a dominant performance, the world No.1 fulfilled expectations with his 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4 victory against a player ranked 142 and was appearing in the draw thanks to a wildcard.

Having gained a psychological advantage by taking the opening set, he then had to work hard to maintain it in the second after dropping his serve early in the set.

Djokovic’s season has not been the best by his high standards, but as far as Roland Garros goes, he has now won the last eight matches he has played there in his attempt to secure a fourth French Open title and a record-breaking 25th Grand Slam.

He also has to reach the final to keep his No. 1 ranking!

Reflecting on his win on court the 37-year-old Djokovic said: “I don’t think you’re really thinking of not going for too much on the court.

“Especially now at this age and stage of my career, I really see every match as a golden opportunity.

“I don’t know how long I’ll have opportunities to play at a high level so I try to use it, I try to do everything I possibly can to win.”

Casper Ruud hopes to go one better this year

(Photo by Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Djokovic’s adversary in last year’s final, Norway’s Casper Ruud, also progressed into the second round but with a more solid performance to oust Brazil’s Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3 and can’t be ruled out to go one better this year having now won 13 of his last 15 at Roland Garros.

“I was honestly very happy,” Ruud said. “I think it was a good start. I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racket. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for.”

Also through is Taylor Fritz of the US and seeded 12 who toppled Argentina’s Federico Coria recovering from a set down to win 2-6 6-1 6-2 6-1and the 26th seeded Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor who ousted American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-2 plus Belgium’s veteran David Goffin who overcame the French Lyons champion, the 6’ 8” giant Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3.

Making his grand slam debut, Argentina’s 31st-seeded Mariano Navone saw off former top-tenner Pablo Carrena Busta of Spain 5-7 6-1 6-3 6-0 and Australia’s 11th seeded Alex de Minaur routed American Alex Michelsen 6-1 6-0 6-2.



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