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May 23, 2022 7:55 pm

Rafael Nadal wins French opener for 299th Grand Slam win

Rafael Nadal breezed past Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 as the Spaniard began his quest for a 14th French Open championship on Monday in Paris.

The win was the 299th in a Grand Slam match for Nadal, who will join contemporaries Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with 300 following his next victory. And it had to be encouraging for the 21-time Grand Slam winner, who has been dealing with a recurring foot injury.

“It is a good start, of course,” Nadal, 35, said after the match. “I played good for a while, then (there were) things that I could do better and I need to do better. But it is a positive start, and that’s given me a chance to have one more day of practice tomorrow and then another chance after tomorrow.”

Next up for the fifth-seeded Nadal is French wild card Corentin Moutet, who came from behind to defeat 2015 French Open winner Stan Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

Nadal broke Thompson’s serve seven times and had 27 winners to 14 for his opponent. Nadal’s record on the clay courts at Roland Garros is now 106-3.

Djokovic, the top seed, improved to 18-0 in the first round at Roland Garros by sailing to a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

Djokovic had nine aces and compiled a 35-17 edge in winners. Both players committed 32 unforced errors.

The match marked Djokovic’s first Grand Slam appearance since September’s loss to Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final. He missed the Australian Open early this year when he was denied permission to stay in the country due to his unvaccinated status.

“I am pleased with the match,” Djokovic said afterward. “I struggled to adapt in the first set. He is a very quick player. The first set was close but I cruised through the second and third. I always expect the highest for myself but it was a very good start.”

Brit Cameron Norrie, seeded 10th, delivered a 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Manuel Guinard of France.

Taylor Fritz was the only one of three Americans playing in matches featuring seeded players to post a win.

Fritz, the 13th seed, outlasted Santiago Fa Rodriguez Taverna of Argentina in three hours, 34 minutes by a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 margin.

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia knocked out No. 17 Reilly Opelka 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-3. The big-serving Opelka fired 12 aces but was undone by 47 unforced errors against 40 winners. Krajinovic had 23 winners and 10 unforced errors.

And Maxime Cressy lost to No. 22 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia despite hitting 42 aces. Cressy also had 19 double faults in the match. Basilashvili fought back from a two-set deficit to win 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-4 in another marathon match — three hours, 20 minutes.

Other seeded players to move on to the second round included No. 20 Marin Cilic of Croatia, who knocked out Hungarian Attila Balazs, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2. No. 28 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and No. 29 Daniel Evans both won in straight sets.

–Field Level Media

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