Easy French Open wins for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic


Rafael Nadal has smoothly negotiated the potential stumbling block presented by Frenchman Benoit Paire on Monday, launching his bid for an unprecedented 10th French Open trophy with a largely routine win.

Under watchful eye of new coach Andre Agassi, Djokovic looked his comfortable self as he begins quest to defend the title he won a year ago in fourth attempt.

Defending champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic watches Andre Agassi, left, of the U.S, during a training session for the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, May 26, 2017 in Paris.

The 30-year-old Serb, without a Tour title since January, found little resistance from Granollers, grabbing two breaks early on in the first set as he chased the 77th-ranked Spaniard around the court.

Djokovic, with new coach Andre Agassi looking on, faces either compatriot Janko Tipsarevic or Portugal's Joao Sousa for a place in the last 32.

Ninth-seed Alexander Zverev's first-round match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco was suspended due to rain and poor light.

The Spaniard acknowledged that he could face a stiff challenge in the second round against Robin Haase.

Djokovic in his post-match conference was asked about Agassi at length, prompting him to ask whether he should bring his coach in to the press room next time.

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Nadal, 30, was up against the crowd as much as his opponent as he took on Frenchman Paire on the lively Suzanne Lenglen Court.

David Ferrer, the 2013 runner-up, outlasted American Donald Young in a four-and-a-half-hour shootout, prevailing 13-11 in the final set, while Former US Open champion Marin Cilic and Belgian 10th seed David Goffin also progressed.

"I got two balls, one when I missed my return, and then if it was 5-3 I thought I could finish the set and perhaps I could kind of liberate myself", Paire told a news conference.

Raonic took just 92 minutes to beat Belgian Darcis 6-3 6-4 6-2 - taking the final game to love.

While Djokovic, seeded second, went on to see off Granollers in straight sets, the 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 scoreline didn't say the whole story, with Granollers making it quite hard for Djokovic, particularly in the second set.

Agassi looked on from the player's box on court Philippe Chatrier on Monday, smiling when his charge won an epic 38-shot rally in the first set.

"I will try to use the time with him as best as I can".

Raonic, whose best run at the French Open came when he made the 2014 quarter-finals, fired 15 aces and 44 winners to book a meeting with Mikhail Youzhny of Russian Federation or Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva. "I'm feeling good, I'm playing good tennis and I'm happy to be back in Paris".