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French Open: Nadal hardly breaks sweat in routine first-round at Roland Garros

By Patric Ridge

Paris, May 23: Rafael Nadal cruised through his first-round match against Jordan Thompson to make a strong start to his French Open campaign.

Nadal is in the hunt for a record-extending 14th title at Roland Garros and he turned in a dominant display on Monday, winning 6-2 6-2 6-2 to progress with ease.

It took Nadal a little over two hours to see off his opponent on Court Philippe-Chatrier and claim a 24th win of what is already proving to be a wonderful season.

Nadal, seeded fifth, controlled the match throughout, breaking twice in the first set, which he sealed at the first time of asking.

Thompson, the world number 82, conceded serve again at the start of the second set, and he was left hanging over the net in despair when Nadal turned defence into attack to deny the 28-year-old holding in his next service game.

A deft drop shot saw Thompson recover but Nadal was clinical when chances to break came, and he took all three on offer in the second set, though the Australian also grasped his only chance to do so.

Thompson salvaged the first three break points in set three but Nadal would not be denied, and he nosed into a 3-2 lead before breaking again to serve out for the match.

A stray shot into the net from Thompson wrapped up the win as Nadal – one of only three players to have previously won the French Open without losing a single set – made an emphatic start.

Data Slam: Nadal's incredible Roland Garros record

Nadal is the only player to have won the same grand slam title 10+ times, and of the 109 matches he has now played at Roland Garros (excluding walkovers), the 35-year-old has lost just three – once against Robin Soderling (2008) and twice to Novak Djokovic (2015, 2021).

Thompson, who made 29 unforced errors, seemed frustrated at his own performance, but he was taking on a true great of the game.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Nadal – 27/21 Thompson – 14/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Nadal – 1/0 Thompson – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON Nadal – 7/11 Thompson – 1/2

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Story first published: Monday, May 23, 2022, 22:10 [IST]
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