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French Open: Rafael Nadal shows his class, holder out

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz steamrolled past Argentine lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0
Iga Swiatek.
Iga Swiatek.

Reuters   |   Paris   |   Published 24.05.22, 02:24 AM

Rafael Nadal showed no signs of pain as the 13-time French Open champion marched into the second round at Roland Garros with clinical 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Australian Jordan Thompson on Monday.

The Spaniard, who had never arrived in Paris as unprepared as this year after a rib injury and a chronic foot problem hampered the build-up to his beloved Grand Slam tournament, was never bothered on a chilly court Philippe Chatrier.

“It’s incredible for me to play here again on Chatrier. I’m happy with this win. First round is always special,” said Nadal, who now has 106 wins at Roland Garros – more than any other male player at a single Grand Slam. The 35-year-old, who has a record 21 men’s grand slam titles to his name, played down the chances of adding to his tally but his display was reminiscent of those of previous years.

Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka lost to French Corentin Moutet 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in his first grand slam appearance in 18 months.

Iga cruises

Barbora Krejcikova’s title defence ended in the opening round as local hope Diane Parry roared to a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory against the second-seeded Czech. But world No.1 and top seed Iga Swiatek put on a commanding display against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko with a 6-2, 6-0 victory to kickstart her bid for a second title here and extend her winning run to 29 matches.

Krejcikova, who defeated Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 2021 final to win her maiden Grand Slam title, arrived at Roland Garros without any competitive matches under her belt since February due to an elbow injury.

She breezed through the opening set against the 97th-ranked Parry, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time in her career, in 34 minutes before her rustiness showed.

“It’s a dream for me. It was always a dream to play on this court with the French crowd to support me,” Parry said during an interview on court.

Swiatek, who won the 2020 title without dropping a set, arrived in Paris having won her last five tournaments, including four WTA 1000 events, and is the overwhelming favourite to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup again.

“I just want to keep going. I am aware that someday my streak may stop,” Swiatek said on court.

Alcaraz on a roll

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz steamrolled past Argentine lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 to kick off his campaign on Sunday.

The 19-year-old sixth seed, who won the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters in the run-up to Roland Garros, needed just one set to adjust to the immense Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a meeting with fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

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