Novak Djokovic: Defending French Open champion up and running with victory over

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic shrugged off doubts about the state of his game with a confident 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 defeat of Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the French Open on Tuesday.

The top seed had to wait until the night match on the third day of the tournament to begin his quest for a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title but quickly hit his stride to dispatch French wild card Herbert on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic has not reached a final this year and his world No 1 ranking is under threat from Jannik Sinner.

He said he arrived at Roland Garros with “low expectations and high hopes” after suffering some uncharacteristic defeats this year.

But everything looked in fine working order against Herbert who put up solid resistance but never looked likely to unduly concern the Serbian who has now won 72 of his 74 first-round matches in Grand Slam tournaments.

The only moment of slight drama came deep in the third set when Djokovic took a nasty tumble down by the net, and was booed by the ever-friendly Paris crowd as he towelled himself down.

“C’est normal, l’ambiance,” he said while addressing the crowd afterwards, before translating the remark as: “It’s normal, the atmosphere. Merci pour l’ambiance (thank you for the atmosphere).”

Three-time Roland Garros champion Djokovic will face Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena in round two.

Ruud makes winning start in quest for French Open title

Norway'S Casper Ruud Celebrates Winning Against Brazil'S Felipe Meligeni Alves At The End Of Their First Round Match Of The French Open Tennis Tournament At The Roland Garros Stadium In Paris, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Ap Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
Casper Ruud is a losing finalist in the previous two French Open tournaments

Two-time runner-up Casper Ruud gained some belated family revenge by beating Brazilian qualifier Felipe Meligeni Alves in straight sets.

In the final of the 1995 Swedish Open in Bastad, Meligeni Alves’ uncle Fernando Meligeni beat Ruud’s father Christian to win the title.

“I think both me and my dad wanted to get some revenge,” said Ruud. “It was worth the wait, I guess. It was many years we had to wait, but we got it today.

Fresh from his win in Geneva last week the world No 7 and three-time Grand Slam finalist looked confident on the Paris clay, serving close to 90 per cent first serves as he sped past the Brazilian in under two hours.

“This is one of the biggest tournaments for me and for everyone every year. One of my highlights,” Ruud added.

“I’m always looking forward to it. The last two years have given me so much here in Paris. I hope I can make it another good year.”

“I think it’s been a good clay season for me. Madrid and Rome could’ve gone a bit better. It wasn’t what I hoped for. But other results went well. All in all I’m happy.”

Ruud, a losing finalist in the previous two French Open tournaments, earned three break points at 3-2 and more on the Brazilian’s next service game before snatching a break on his seventh opportunity to go 5-3 up and bag the first set.

Alves had matched Ruud’s power game for about an hour but gradually the mistakes piled up as Ruud did not give a single break point away in the entire second set.

Another early break in the third saw Ruud firmly in the driving seat and the 25-year-old sealed his 6-3 6-4 6-3 win in just under two hours.

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