French Open: Nadal, Thiem Cruise
Through The Editorials
12-time Spanish champion Rafael Nadal had little trouble starting the French Open with a three-set win over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov.
The 34-year-old Nadal managed a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory in two hours and five minutes against the world number 83, who was making his main draw debut in Paris.
US Open champion Dominic Thiem also advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic of Croatia. Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev is out after losing to Marton Fucsovics.
Thiem, who won his first Grand Slam title in New York a fortnight ago, has lost to Nadal in the last two Roland Garros finals.
The pair have been tied for the same half of the men’s singles, meaning they could meet in the semi-finals this year.
Nadal ranks second behind Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic and says the reorganized tournament will provide him with the “toughest conditions” yet.
The 19-time Grand Slam singles champion, who aims to equal Roger Federer’s all-time male leaders record, has only played one clay-court event before Roland Garros and the cooler conditions are not so beneficial for the game of him.
Although the score against Gerasimov was comfortable, the Belarusian gave him a decent workout.
“I’m not going to make a mistake, attitude and motivation are always here,” Nadal said. “It is a different Roland Garros than we are used to and the conditions are very challenging. I’m happy to be in the second round, it’s a good start. “