Defending champion Rafael Nadal got his bid for a record-extending 12th French Open title off to the perfect start by brushing aside German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, while world No 1 Novak Djokovic was also a comfortable victor in the first round at Roland Garros on Monday.
Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 victory on the rebuilt Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a clash with another German qualifier – world number 114 Yannick Maden – in round two.
Djokovic laid down an early marker in his bid to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously for the second time, powering past Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz. The 15-time major champion impressed in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 triumph and will face Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen in round two.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka eased into the second round as well, with a four-set win over Slovakian Jozef Kovalik.
The 34-year-old lost the second set in a tie-break but was otherwise dominant in a 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 victory on Court Simonne Mathieu. The 2015 French Open winner Wawrinka, who slipped out of the world’s top 200 after injuries last year, is the 24th seed in Paris and will next face in-form Chilean Cristian Garin
Nadal had suffered three consecutive semi-final defeats earlier in the clay-court season, but appeared to find his best in an Italian Open title success sealed with victory over old rival Djokovic, while his French Open win-loss record now reads 87-2.
“It’s always amazing to play here, the new Chatrier is very nice,” the second seed said. “It’s been an important place in my career.
“I played a good tournament in Rome which was very important for my confidence. Now we’ll see.”
The 32-year-old Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set before a second break of serve in the eighth game sealed it after just 40 minutes.
The second set was over in a flash as Nadal crushed nine winners past his beleaguered opponent.
The winning line honed into view when Nadal broke after a lengthy game to take a 2-1 advantage in the third, and the Spaniard completed the job on his first match point as world number 184 Hanfmann blasted long.
Twelve months ago, Djokovic dropped out of the world’s top 20 after a shock quarter-final loss to Marco Cecchinato and even pondered skipping Wimbledon, but he has instead reclaimed his place at the top of the game.
“I was very solid. I’m happy with my game today,” said top seed Djokovic. “It’s a long tournament... But I just want to concentrate on my next match.”
The 22-year-old Hurkacz, who has claimed three wins over top-10 players this season, had no answer to the 2016 French Open winner, as Djokovic sealed a second-round spot without breaking sweat, hitting 27 winners.
Australian Alex De Minaur, seeded 21st, beat the United States’ Bradley Klahn 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, although Georgian 15th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili fell to a surprising 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 thrashing at the hands of Argentinian world number 78 Juan Ignacio Londero.
Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev also exited the tournament, blowing a two-set lead to lose 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Henri Laaksonen (SUI) bt Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-1, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4)
Gilles Simon (FRA x26) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
Borna Coric (CRO x13) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) bt Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA x32) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x24) bt Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3
Cristian Garin (CHI) bt Reilly Opelka (USA) 7-6 (7/0), 7-5, 7-6 (9/7)
Alex De Minaur (AUS x21) bt Bradley Klahn (USA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x12) 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x15) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3
Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
Corentin Moutet (FRA) bt Alexey Vatutin (RUS) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4
Guido Pella (ARG x19) bt Guido Andreozzi (ARG) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-0, 6-7 (7/9), 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Yannick Maden (GER) bt Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 7-6 (7/0), 7-5, 6-3
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-2, 6-1, 6-3
With AFP inputs