Roger Federer feels more certainty about his game on clay after reaching the fourth round of the French Open but acknowledged he can still improve.

The 20-time major winner overcame Casper Ruud 6-3 6-1 7-6 (10-8) on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Friday, his third straight-sets victory in succession in his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015.

Federer missed the 2016 French Open due to back and knee issues and opted to skip the clay-court swing the following two years to focus his attention on the grass and hard surfaces.

After three years off the red dirt the Swiss reached the quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome prior to his arrival in Paris, and with the same stage in sight again he is feeling confident ahead of an encounter with Leonardo Mayer.

"I'm very happy. A few months ago, I didn't know what to expect with anything, really. At this point, now I know where my level's at," said Federer.

"I still don't know exactly where my absolute best is, but I feel like it could be there. Maybe not, you know. I'm happy to find out either way.

"So I'm happy I'm putting myself in a position like this in a fourth round of the French Open after not having played so many years here. I think for me the first goal has been reached by getting this deep into the tournament, and knowing where the game's at, knowing where the fitness is, the mind.

"Also playing a tie-break on clay [against Ruud], how to go through tougher points on clay, because you have to construct them a little bit differently than on the hard courts or on the grass.

"I'm very pleased with how I'm feeling and how I'm playing, and still trying to stay true to playing freely and with nothing to lose, even though I know I will be the favourite in the next match. But regardless, I'm going to try to play as free as I can."

The meeting with the 20-year-old Ruud was Federer's 400th grand slam singles match, making him the first player to reach the milestone.

Asked if the landmark impressed him, Federer responded: "Well, it is impressive, but I didn't know, and this answers the question probably.

"It's true I played many matches in grand slam tournaments, and it's even more pleasant to do this in Roland Garros, because I have a lot of records from Wimbledon or the US Open.

"But doing anything in Roland is very special, because I played a lot here. It was my first grand slam where I was in the main draw."

Rafael Nadal overcame a rare stumble to defeat David Goffin in the third round of the French Open on Friday.

The 11-time champion looked to be racing through a trademark clay-court masterclass as he dominated the first set and thrilled in the second.

But Goffin, who won just 10 points in the opener, responded to take the third as a routine Nadal win threatened to become slightly trickier, stretching towards the three-hour mark.

Normal service was resumed as the defending champion sealed a 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 triumph, having dropped a set for only the second time at Roland Garros since 2015.

The world number two is rarely troubled on the red dirt and, despite the serene start here, will hope to find his last-16 clash with Juan Ignacio Londero or Corentin Moutet somewhat more straightforward.

Goffin was facing three break points by the time he got on the scoreboard with an ace, enough only to delay Nadal's stunning start by a matter of moments as the Belgian next found the net and the defending champion led.

There was no stopping the second seed, who edged further clear as he twice more forced his opponent to go low, although the world number 29 battled to avoid a bagel.

The second set soon went the same way and Goffin collapsed from 40-15 on serve, with a couple of wayward shots dropping wide to the left strengthening the Spaniard grip on the match.

An array of glorious Nadal strokes continued to bring the Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd to its feet, regularly leaving Goffin shaking his head in bemusement, and a further break followed to seal the set.

But Goffin seized his first opportunities of the match with the third at 4-4, breaking with a brilliant winner and then clinging on to his advantage.

However, Nadal was determined to quickly halt any fightback and an increasingly aggressive approach was rewarded with the lead in the fourth, enough for him to see off Goffin.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Rafael Nadal [2] bt David Goffin [27] 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 38/21
Goffin - 33/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 5/5
Goffin - 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 5/10
Goffin - 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Nadal - 58
Goffin - 50

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Nadal - 78/70
Goffin - 63/52

TOTAL POINTS 

Nadal - 115
Goffin - 86

Roger Federer marked his 400th grand slam singles match with a routine 6-3 6-1 7-6 (10-8) victory over Casper Ruud in the third round of the French Open.

Federer's win secured a place in the last 16 at Roland Garros for a record 14th time and saw him become the oldest man to reach that stage in Paris since a 38-year-old Nicola Pietrangeli in 1972.

The Swiss produced some magnificent shots to counter a strong start from Ruud, whose father and coach Christian was in the draw when Federer made his French Open debut back in 1999.

Ruud gave a good account of himself and was unable to convert a set point in the third as Federer prevailed on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Ruud produced some confident groundstrokes during the early exchanges but was unable to make any inroads on Federer's serve and the 37-year-old broke him with a brilliant half-volley backhand from the baseline.

The 20-time major winner was one point away from dropping his serve in game eight but closed out the set in emphatic fashion with an overhead smash.

Ruud's dynamism kept him in rallies but also drew exquisite shots from Federer, though it was a backhand into the net that handed the 2009 champion the initiative in the second.

Federer remained clinical and moved 4-0 up with an excellent cross-court forehand and nullified a break point with an ace as he served out the set.

Ruud, who broke the top 100 for the first time in March, hinted at a comeback when he broke Federer early in the next set, but the third seed got straight back on serve with a fine winner down the line.

The Norwegian held on to force a tie-break and saw a chance to send the match to a fourth set taken away from him by Federer, who pounced on a costly double fault to clinch the win at the fourth attempt.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Roger Federer [3] bt Casper Ruud 6-3 6-1 7-6 (10-8)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Federer - 52/36
Ruud - 28/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Federer - 11/3
Ruud - 2/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 5/12
Ruud - 1/5

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 61
Ruud - 68

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 80/51
Ruud - 67/32

TOTAL POINTS
Federer - 114
Ruud - 90

Novak Djokovic coasted in to round three of the French Open on Thursday, while Dominic Thiem came through a tricky encounter with Alexander Bublik.

Just as he did in his opener, Djokovic won in straight sets. The top seed saw off Henri Laaksonen 6-1 6-4 6-3 in just over an hour and a half on Court Suzanne-Lenglen to book a meeting with qualifier Salvatore Caruso, who beat Gilles Simon 6-1 6-2 6-4.

Clay-court specialist Thiem twice fought from 4-1 down in sets against Bublik but was only successful in the fourth set, when he sealed a 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 7-5 triumph.

Alexander Zverev swept aside Mikael Ymer in straight sets and Gael Monfils came out on top 6-3 6-4 6-4 against fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, but eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro required the full five to get past Yoshihito Nishioka.

There were also wins for Fabio Fognini, Borna Coric and Karen Khachanov, while Fernando Verdasco fell to Antoine Hoang and Kyle Edmund retired in the third set of his meeting with Pablo Cuevas due to a knee injury.

 

DJOKOVIC IN THE ZONE

Djokovic's quest to become the first man in the Open Era to hold all four grand slams on two separate occasions remains on track.

After breezing through an encounter with Laaksonen, he explained how his approach at majors has enabled him to enjoy such success.

"I think it's about the mindset, you know, where do you put your priorities? What is the goal? What is the strategy, how you want to reach that goal?" he said.

"These are the tournaments where I aim to play my best, so probably that kind of mindset allowed me to shine always at the biggest events."

 

BUBLIK'S UNDERARM TACTICS

Thiem was bested a couple of times by underarm serves from Bublik, who kept him on his toes during an entertaining encounter.

The Austrian, runner-up at Roland Garros last year, recovered from 5-2 down in the fourth set to secure his 50th win in grand slam competitions.

Speaking about Bublik's unorthodox serves, he said: "I expected it. To be honest, it's a good choice against players like us who are that far behind the baseline.

"There is nothing bad about it. And I was prepared for that, so that was no problem."

 

ZVEREV CUTS IT SHORT

After his hopes of winning a first major at Roland Garros last year were hindered by playing three five-set matches in his opening four outings, Zverev looked set for more of the same after he went the distance against John Millman in his 2019 opener.

However, the German got past Ymer 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to record just his second straight-sets win in main-draw action at the competition.

Next up for him is Monte Carlo Masters finalist Dusan Lajovic, who ousted Elliot Benchetrit.

 

DEL POTRO DIGS DEEP

Having struggled with injuries in recent years, when Del Potro requests treatment there is always an element of concern.

The Argentine had to have his right knee - the one in which he suffered a fractured patella in October - taped up after dropping the first set in an enthralling clash with Nishioka.

Del Potro dug deep, though, and somehow managed to emerge triumphant 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 after a gruelling three hours and 46 minutes.

 

Novak Djokovic is ready to put in more work off the court after sealing a third-round meeting with Salvatore Caruso at the French Open.

Top seed Djokovic eased past lucky loser Henri Laaksonen on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Thursday, having also seen off Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets in his opening match.

The Serbian had not faced either player before and will also meet qualifier Caruso for the first time as he looks to become just the second man to hold all four major titles on two separate occasions.

"I don't know much about him [Caruso], to be honest. It's really interesting, it's the third match in a row that I get to play against someone that I have never faced before in a match," said world number one Djokovic.

"But that's good, because there is a shift of generations and new players coming up. Again, I'm going to have to do my homework, do analysis on him.

"I watched him play a little bit today when I was waiting for my match. I saw he came from qualifying. He has won five matches now, so there is a lot of confidence. He has nothing to lose.

"I'm sure he's going to be very motivated to play his best. We are going to hopefully play on one of the big stadiums and have a great match."

Djokovic endured a dismal two years between completing his career Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2016 and losing to Marco Cecchinato in the 2018 French Open quarter-finals, but he feels he is now back to his best.

"It's still early in the tournament, but I do have high ambitions for this tournament. Grand slams are the tournaments where I want to play my best, and hopefully get a chance to fight for the title," said Djokovic.

"I have played finals on several different occasions at Roland Garros and had that memorable title in 2016. Since then a lot has happened. I was absent from the tour for six months. I had elbow surgery and changed the racquet, and various transformations happened in my career.

"But I have gotten, I feel like, to a place where I was hoping I would get with my game. I worked very hard for it. I think everything started to really function well from Wimbledon last year. That was a huge springboard and confidence boost for what was coming up.

"Winning slams is quite a different feeling from anything else. It really puts your name in the history books of the sport, and it just serves as a huge confidence boost for any other tournament or the rest of the season."

Novak Djokovic cruised past lucky loser Henri Laaksonen 6-1 6-4 6-3 in the second round of the French Open on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Thursday.

The top seed and world number one made it two straight-sets victories in succession by overcoming Roland Garros debutant Laaksonen in routine fashion after an hour and 33 minutes.

Djokovic, aiming to become the first man in the Open Era to hold all four grand slam titles on two separate occasions, raced into a 5-0 lead in the opening set and never looked like being troubled by the 104-ranked Swiss, despite him showing flashes of quality with a pair of disguised drop shots.

The Serbian will meet Salvatore Caruso for the first time in the third round after the qualifier overcame 26th seed Gilles Simon in straight sets on Court 14.

Djokovic hit the ground running and mixed powerful forehands with deft drop shots, leaving Laaksonen powerless; the Swiss avoided being bagelled but lost the first set in just 23 minutes when he went long with a backhand.

Laaksonen appeared to have settled early in the second, while Djokovic grew more agitated – after failing to convert three break points in game five the Serbian repeatedly smacked the base of his foot with his racket with more force than was required to knock out the build-up of clay.

The 15-time grand slam champion got the job done at the fifth attempt, before a forehand into the net saw him broken to love in his attempt to consolidate. Djokovic struck back immediately and rounded off the set with a rasping forehand into the corner.

Laaksonen took a tumble as he scurried along the baseline in pursuit of a winner that sealed another break at the start of the third for Djokovic, who took a moment to ensure his opponent was not injured as a result.

Djokovic teed up match point with another exceptional cross-court forehand into the corner and progression was secured when Laaksonen missed with an attempt to pass him down the line.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Novak Djokovic [1] bt Henri Laaksonen 6-1 6-4 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic - 21/24
Laaksonen - 24/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic - 4/2
Laaksonen - 6/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic - 6/10
Laaksonen - 1/1

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic - 66
Laaksonen - 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic - 81/54
Laaksonen - 64/40

TOTAL POINTS
Djokovic - 85
Laaksonen - 63

Grigor Dimitrov won a five-set battle with Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka came to a young fan's rescue at the French Open, while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer cruised into the third round on Wednesday.

Dimitrov has tumbled down to 46th in the rankings, but the Bulgarian is through to round three at Roland Garros after a 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 defeat of 11th seed Cilic.

Wawrinka will face Dimitrov after hammering Cristian Garin 6-1 6-4 6-0 and then protecting a young boy as fans swarmed to get his autograph.

Nadal, the 11-time champion in Paris, dispatched Yannick Maden 6-1 6-2 6-4, while Federer cruised past Oscar Otte 6-4 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori were among the other winners, while Benoit Paire took the final set against Pierre-Hugues Herbert 11-9 in a marathon all-French encounter.

 

DIMITROV BACK IN BUSINESS

Dimitrov needed four hours and 24 minutes to see off Cilic and was on a high after hitting 60 winners in an epic contest on the new Court Simonne-Mathieu.

He said: "Every win that I have now, I appreciate it. I don't really think of who I'm playing against. I just want to have those wins. It was a very, very important match to me, without a doubt.

"Clearly I have struggled the past two, three months. The shoulder hasn't been great."

 

STAN PROVES HE IS THE  MAN

Wawrinka showed his class not only with his racket but also by carrying a boy and helping to find his father as fans desperately tried to get his signature.

The Swiss said: "People were pushing too much, and he started to cry because he had some pain.

"I took him out of that mess a little bit, and he was in pain and sad. So for sure, I tried to make him feel better, give him a towel, and try to find his dad."

 

I PROBABLY KNOW MORE ABOUT HIS FATHER - FEDERER

Talking of parents, Federer's next opponent will be Casper Ruud - the 20-year-old son of former ATP Tour player Christian Ruud - in the next round. 

"I know probably more about his dad than about him. Even though I never played him, the father." said the 20-time grand slam champion.

"I know that he's improved a lot, you know, in recent years, and I think he plays very well on the clay. Again, I haven't seen him play a whole lot. But for any 20-year-old to be on the big stage, playing a top guy, on a centre court, that's what you dream of, at least I did.

"When you're growing up and thinking to be a professional tennis player, it's not so much about actually playing a certain player, it's about playing on a certain court. He's going to get that either on Lenglen or Chatrier for the next match."

Roger Federer eased into the third round of the French Open with an emphatic defeat of Oscar Otte.

The third seed was a class apart as he followed up a straight-sets win over Lorenzo Sonego by seeing off the 144-ranked Otte 6-4 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday.

Federer said he is relishing being an "outsider" in his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, yet he looked anything but that on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The 20-time grand slam champion saved all four break points that Otte earned as he coasted through in an hour and 36 minutes, serving superbly and hitting 35 winners in a commanding performance.

Federer peppered Otte - playing in the second round of a major for the first time - with glorious groundstrokes as he set up a meeting with Casper Ruud. 

Otte gave a good account of himself in a first set that had no break points until the clinical Federer fizzed a glorious return winner past the German, who then made a couple of errors to go a set down.

It was a similar story in the second set, with the Swiss master claiming the only break again to lead 5-3 before saving two break points as he made hard work of going two sets up.

Otte continued to struggle with his first serve and was unable to win another two break points as Federer frustrated him in a final set that he won with just the one break.

Rafael Nadal's quest for a 12th French Open title continued as he made light work of Yannick Maden in the second round at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Having breezed past Yannick Hanfmann in round one, two-time defending champion Nadal looked sharp in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory which went beyond two hours.

After getting into his stride with some blistering shots in the early stages, Nadal did not let up in the first set, and though qualifier Maden seemed to have rallied after failing to hold at the start of the second, the Spaniard brilliantly converted another break point in the fifth game.

Maden did break twice to make things interesting in the third, but Nadal came through in straight sets nevertheless to set up a clash with David Goffin.

Nadal had a tentative start against Hanfmann, having to stave off four break points in the first game, but he had no such issues this time around, displaying his power with both forehand and backhand to force Maden back behind the baseline as he cruised into the lead.

Having been broken again at the start of the second set, Maden's subsequent resilience looked to have paid off when he took a 40-15 lead in the fifth game, only for Nadal to fight back to break with an acrobatic drop shot at the culmination of a thrilling rally.

The world number two then converted the second of three set points on serve.

Maden looked down and out when Nadal responded to his overhead with a venomous drive down the line to break, but the German remarkably converted break points in successive games.

Those breaks would prove no more than a souvenir, however, with Nadal scampering across court to break again and finally end Maden's resolve.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Rafael Nadal [2] bt Yannick Maden 6-1 6-2 6-4.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 43/23
Maden - 15/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 3/3
Maden - 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 7
Maden - 2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Nadal - 63
Maden - 63

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Nadal - 73/61
Maden - 57/25

TOTAL POINTS

Nadal - 90
Maden - 56

Alexander Zverev had a friendly reunion after his first-round encounter turned into an unlikely marathon, Juan Martin del Potro needed some time to kick into gear, and Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez were involved in a quirky piece of history at the French Open.

Fifth seed Zverev endured a tricky start to 2019 but appeared to have found some form by winning the title in Geneva recently.

The German saw a two-set lead evaporate before eventually triumphing against John Millman on this occasion, though. The four-hour-and-eight-minute thriller went the way of Zverev 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

Del Potro was playing the in-form Nicolas Jarry and an upset was on the cards at Roland Garros until the eighth seed came through 3-6 6-2 6-1 6-4.


FROM PARIS TO YORKSHIRE FOR ZVEREV?

A year ago, Zverev made tennis reporter Jonathan Pinfield a viral sensation after being charmed by his Yorkshire accent.

The two were reunited after Zverev's mammoth match with Millman and the relieved German told Pinfield a trip to his English county may be in order if he triumphs at Roland Garros.

"I don't know [what would make Roland Garros special this year], but if I win it, I'm going to Yorkshire. That's the first thing I'm doing," he quipped.

HEALTH KEY FOR DEL POTRO

Jarry was a finalist in Geneva against Zverev and took the opening set against Del Potro, who quickly roared back to win 3-6 6-2 6-1 6-4.

The amiable Argentinian has had a career blighted by injuries, including sitting out four months after fracturing his patella last October, and he is focusing on staying fit.

"The main goal for me is trying to stay healthy after this tournament so then I can make a smart schedule on a different surface without thinking about my knee, and that would be much better for my future," he said. 

"I think I'm playing well at the moment, but my main goal is still the knee, my health."

AGE IS BUT A NUMBER FOR LOPEZ, KARLOVIC

With a combined age of 77, Karlovic and Lopez took place in the oldest match in Roland Garros history.

The duo proved that age is just a number in a keenly fought contest, which was won by Karlovic in four sets.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Fabio Fognini (9), Karen Khachanov (10), Gael Monfils (14), Lucas Pouille (22), Fernando Verdasco (23) and Dusan Lajovic (30). Kyle Edmund (28) also progressed from his fifth-set decider against Jeremy Chardy in a match held over from Monday.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were in no mood to hang around in their respective opening-round matches at the French Open, but Dominic Thiem needed to overcome a Monday wobble.

Defending champion and tournament favourite Nadal needed just under two hours to defeat Yannick Hanfmann, while Djokovic required only 97 minutes to defeat Hubert Hurkacz.

Austrian Thiem, a losing finalist to Nadal a year ago, did not have things all his own way en route to beating Tommy Paul, but eventually came through in four sets.

Elsewhere, Stan Wawrinka and Borna Coric came through in four sets, while there was plenty of home success at Roland Garros.


NADAL UP AND RUNNING

Nadal was expected to have few problems against the unfancied Hanfmann and that proved to be the case in a 6-2 6-1 6-3 triumph.

Hanfmann received a text from a friend when the draw was made that translated as "are you kidding me?!" but facing Nadal is certainly no joke and his pre-match assertion that facing the Spaniard on clay is the "ultimate test" was bang on the money.


DJOKOVIC ON 'LOCKDOWN' IN 'NOVAK SLAM' BID

It was textbook Djokovic in his 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Hurkacz - a player tipped for a bright future.

Djokovic can, for the second time in his career, hold all four slams at the same time if he triumphs at Roland Garros and the Serbian feels he is in the right frame of mind to cope with that pressure.

"I put myself in a situation where I can actually make history of tennis again and I have very high ambitions for this tournament. It's not a secret," he said.

"But at the same time, it's not the first time that I'm facing these kind of circumstances. I know it's two weeks potentially and I just need to be in my lockdown mentally and just do things that have worked for me in the past."


DOMINIC THROUGH IN THE NICK OF THIEM

With the sun fading in the Parisien backdrop, Thiem faced the threat of having to finish his first-round tie to Paul on Tuesday.

But the Austrian eventually prevailed 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 against the American to set up a round-two meeting with Alexander Bublik.


STAN THE MAN, HOME COMFORTS FOR TSONGA AND CO.

The popular Wawrinka, a champion in Paris in 2015, overcame Jozef Kovalik 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-3, while Coric also needed four sets in a 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 beating of Aljaz Bedene.

And there was plenty for the vocal home fans to cheer, with five French players reaching round two.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Benoit Paire and Corentin Moutet all made it through, while Jeremy Chardy's match with Kyle Edmund was interrupted by fading light in the fifth set.

A relaxed Novak Djokovic joked he is expecting a "big bill" from French Open organisers but said the damage he caused in a Roland Garros gym was inevitable due to his "huge muscles".

The world number one began his attempt to complete a second 'Novak Slam' by easing past up-and-comer Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-2 6-2 in round one of the French Open.

Last week, Djokovic posted a video of himself doing strength work in the gym and causing a dent in the floor using a medicine ball as part of his preparations for the tournament.

When quizzed on the comical incident, Djokovic replied in jovial manner, saying: "I probably will [be billed]. 

"I have not received it yet, at least it hasn't come to my attention, but I'm expecting a bill. The damage was pretty big, I must say. 

"You know, huge muscles that I possess, it's kind of expected I make the big hole like that.

"I was just doing my pre-training session warm-up routine, and I took the medicine ball and I just swing with the ball quite hard in front of me, kind of to warm up [the] upper body, and after a second throw, I heard a crack. 

"The wooden floor completely collapsed under [me]. They fixed it in less than a day. Next day it wasn't there. 

"But next day I was doing it on a concrete wall and concrete steps. I learned my lesson."

Djokovic is aiming to be in possession of all four grand slams at the same time for the second time in his career and faced a potential banana skin against 22-year-old Hurkacz, who many are tipping for a bright future.

And the Serbian was happy to have come through unscathed.

"I like the fact that I had a very good quality opponent in the first round, because that gets me going with the right intensity from the start," he added. 

"You know, I'm focused, I'm determined, and sharp from the blocks. That's what happened. You know, even though I never played him, never faced him in official match, I still felt he can be a great threat if I allow him to play his tennis. 

"I actually thought I played well. All the elements in my game worked well, so I'm very pleased."

Rafael Nadal says he is "almost convinced about nothing in this world" despite starting his quest for a 12th French Open crown with a commanding win over Yannick Hanfmann.

The clay-court great was in brilliant form on Court Philippe-Chatrier, reeling off a 6-2 6-1 6-3 victory in double-quick time.

Nadal found his form in time for Roland Garros by triumphing in Rome having suffered semi-final defeats in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

The Spaniard was asked at a post-match news conference when he started feeling in good shape for the French Open, replying: "It's very difficult to be convinced that you're okay. 

"I don't know if many people are convinced about anything in this life. I think when you're convinced about something, you're very arrogant, because most of the time you can hope that something is going to happen and have the desire for something to happen. 

"But to be convinced... I'm almost convinced about nothing in this world. The only thing I was convinced about is that I wanted to work, to try and arrive at the event in a good shape, whatever it was."

The match was Nadal's first experience of the revamped Court Philippe-Chatrier but he said there were no noticeable differences aside from the new aesthetically pleasing aspects.

"Being honest, the feeling to play in this court is not a big difference. I think it's the same. I don't have different feelings," he added. 

"The court by itself, in terms of visual game, we can talk about small differences, but in terms of playing tennis, I think is the same. 

"The wind is coming the same way. It's still a very, very big court. I don't see any difference playing tennis here." 

Novak Djokovic joined both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in easing into the French Open second round with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz.

The world number one is chasing his second 'Novak Slam' three years on from his first at Roland Garros, having already won at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open.

And the early signs were encouraging for Djokovic on Monday as he swept past the 44th-ranked Hurkacz in an hour and 36 minutes.

Henri Laaksonen, a lucky loser in qualifying, will be the next to take on top seed Djokovic, who looked in determined mood as he seeks a second French Open title.

Arriving on Court Philippe Chatrier shortly after defending champion Nadal's opening win, Djokovic was in fine form from the outset and led when Hurkacz went long under pressure.

The remainder of the first set was less dominant, but Djokovic held on without having to withstand any real pressure and then forged another early breakthrough in the second.

Three consecutive games then went against serve in a far more open set, with Hurkacz twice gifting away breaks with double-faults, only briefly pegging Djokovic back in between with an excellent close-range forehand.

That allowed the Serbian to clinch the second and, once more, his outstanding return play led to a swift advantage in the third as Hurkacz wore a bemused expression.

There would be no response this time and Djokovic breezed through his service games, also landing another blow as he forced Hurkacz into a corner, en route to a comprehensive victory.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Novak Djokovic [1] bt Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-2 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic - 27/14
Hurkacz - 21/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic - 6/1
Hurkacz - 8/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic - 6/9
Hurkacz - 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Djokovic - 69
Hurkacz - 59

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Djokovic - 81/73
Hurkacz - 59/40

TOTAL POINTS

Djokovic - 86
Hurkacz - 51

Defending champion Rafael Nadal began his bid for a 12th French Open title with a routine straight-sets defeat of qualifier Yannick Hanfmann on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Second seed Nadal has only twice lost at Roland Garros and was described by top-ranked rival Novak Djokovic as the "number one favourite" on the clay.

The 32-year-old's credentials were scarcely tested in his opener against world number 180 Hanfmann, though, as he ran out a 6-2 6-1 6-3 winner on Monday.

Nadal, in the same half of the draw as Roger Federer, will face Yannick Maden, another qualifier, next.

In his first game in the main draw at Roland Garros, facing down an all-time great, Hanfmann forged four break-point opportunities but saw Nadal battle to a surprisingly testing hold.

From there, Nadal found his feet and broke immediately before clinching the set on his opponent's serve as Hanfmann hammered into the net.

And a series of wayward efforts from Hanfmann saw the Spaniard soon go in front in the second, with his advantage then doubled by a pinpoint passing shot in the sixth game.

Hanfmann's tame drop shot in the following game handed Nadal the set and the German was then shrugging in frustration early in the third when the clay king outmanoeuvred him at the net.

It was not long until Nadal led again as Hanfmann failed to pick out the corner with a stretching forehand, before an unbelievable lob set up match point, seized in just under two hours.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Rafael Nadal [2] bt Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 6-1 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 25/16
Hanfmann - 20/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 5/2
Hanfmann - 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 6/10
Hanfmann - 0/4

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Nadal - 69
Hanfmann - 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Nadal - 82/61
Hanfmann - 56/41

TOTAL POINTS

Nadal - 94
Hanfmann - 58

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