French Open: Nadal launches bid for 10th crown

Former world number one sails through and is joined by top-seed Djokovic; Wozniacki, Kvitova march on in women's draw

    Nadal is a five-time defending champion [Getty Images]
    Nadal is a five-time defending champion [Getty Images]

    Rafa Nadal received a decent workout from French teenager Quentin Halys as he began his quest for a 10th French Open title with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 first-round win.

    Nadal's Grand Slams
    Australian Open - 1
    French Open - 9 
    Wimbledon - 2
    US Open - 2

    Nadal, seeded sixth after a mediocre start to the season, was never threatened by the 18-year-old wild card on Court Philippe Chatrier although the junior US Open runner-up did not appear too overawed.

    The nine-time champion, who now has an awe-inspiring 67-1 record at Roland Garros, next faces either compatriot Nicolas Almagro or Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

    Meanwhile, tournament favourite Novak Djokovic beat Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, kicking off his quest for a first ever Paris trophy to add to his eight other grand slams.

    By adding the French to his string of slams in Melbourne, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadow, Djokovic, who turned 28 last week, would join an elite group of just eight men in history to have won all four tournaments.

    Wozniacki, Kvitova through

    In the women's draw, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki stopped Karin Knapp's good run on clay this season with a 6-3, 6-0 win to reach the second round.

    Knapp arrived in Paris on the back of her second career title at the Nuremberg Open last week and with an 8-2 record on clay.

    Wozniacki was a quarter-finalist here five eyars ago [EPA]

    But she was no match for the fifth-seeded Wozniacki, who made it to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros five years ago.

    Elsewhere, Czech fourth-seed Petra Kvitova dug deep to reach the second round as she laboured to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.

    Eugenie Bouchard's mediocre run continued when the sixth-seeded Canadian was knocked out 6-4, 6-4 by local favourite Kristina Mladenovic.

    Bouchard, dubbed the next big thing of women's tennis last year, arrived in Paris having lost six of her last seven matches and there was no improvement on court Suzanne Lenglen.

    Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion [Reuters]
    Bouchard reached the Wimbledon final alst year but has lost six of her last seven matches [Getty Images]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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