Rafael Nadal began the defence of his French Open crown with an emphatic 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 victory over American Robby Ginepri in Paris on Monday.
The Spaniard is aiming to win the second Grand Slam of the year for the ninth time, and victory never looked in doubt as he served up two bagels on the way to beating his world number 279 opponent.
It took the Mallorcan just 29 minutes to seal the opening set on Suzanne Lenglen Court, playing freely after sealing a break in the first game of the match on his fifth break point.
The second set was a more competitive affair, with Ginepri, a semi-finalist at the US Open in 2005, managing to hold his first three service games, but from being 3-2 up in the set he wasn’t able to win another game.
World number one Nadal managed to pull away from his opponent, as he won 10 games in a row to seal the win in just one hour and 42 minutes. The 27-year-old now holds a win-loss record of 60-1 at Roland Garros, and he is aiming to become the first man to win the tournament in five consecutive years, with his last loss there coming against Swede Robin Soderling in 2009.
Ginepri, 31, was participating in just his third Grand Slam tournament since having surgery on his elbow in 2010, and he had gained entry to the tournament via a wildcard from the USTA, due to picking up the most ranking points in a series of ATP Challenger events.
Nadal will next be in action in his second round match on Thursday, where he will face Austrian Dominic Thiem, who defeated Frenchman Paul Henri-Mathieu in three sets on Monday evening.
He has come into this year’s tournament looking to prove doubters wrong, after some disappointing defeats that he has suffered in the clay-court season.
Serbian Novak Djokovic was the victor when he played Nadal in the final at the Rome Masters earlier in May, and he has also recently lost in the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, though he did win the Madrid Masters in April.
But he remains as the number one seed, and is looking to win his fourth ATP singles title of 2014, after winning tournaments in Doha, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid this year. The “King of Clay” has joined title rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer in the second round, who have both come past Joao Sousa and Lukas Lacko respectively in the opening round.
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