World No.2 Daniil Medvedev breezed past Argentine Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 for a hassle-free opening round at the French Open here on Tuesday.
Medvedev has a shot at returning to the top of the men’s singles rankings, replacing Novak Djokovic, if results go his way at Roland Garros this fortnight.
However, he does not have a great record at the French Open barring a quarterfinal run last year. And on top of it, he has just returned from an injury break.
The 26-year-old returned from a two-month break to recover from hernia surgery last week in Geneva and looked comfortable on Tuesday during his one-hour 38-minute victory over world No.103 Bagnis.
Although an immediate exchange of breaks at the start suggested a potentially intriguing encounter, it proved to be smooth sailing for the 26-year-old Medvedev against the World No. 103 Bagnis, according to a report on the ATP website.
The Argentine lefty appeared to be struggling physically but Medvedev will nonetheless be pleased with the clinical nature of his performance. He struck 35 winners and broke the Bagnis serve eight times in a routine one-hour, 38-minute win. Medvedev had not won a match at Roland Garros in four attempts before his 2021 quarter-final run, which included victories over Reilly Opelka and Cristian Garin before ending with defeat to eventual finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic eases past Nishioka into 2nd round
World number one and holder Novak Djokovic cruised past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-1 6-0 on Monday to advance to the French Open second round in a comfortable start to his quest for a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam.
The Serb, who turned 35 on Sunday, needed less than two hours to beat the Japanese world number 99 in his first Grand Slam this year after missing the Australian Open.
Fresh from his Italian Open victory without dropping a set eight days ago, the defending champion broke Nishioka, who deployed a risky strategy of playing tight angles from the start, to move 4-2 up.
Djokovic, unable to defend his Australian Open title due to his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and his subsequent deportation amid a media frenzy, squandered a set point at 5-2 but comfortably held serve to close it out.
The Serb was never really troubled by Nishioka and galloped through the next two sets, dropping one game in the process.
He wrapped up the contest when Nishioka sent another forehand long to advance to round two as he looks to match fellow title favourite Rafael Nadal’s 21 Grand Slam wins.