Second seed Aryna Sabalenka emphatically progressed to the second round of the French Open with victory over Erika Andreeva on Tuesday.

Australian Open champion Sabalenka won 6-1 6-2 in just 68 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the first career meeting between the two players.

There were 27 winners from Sabalenka and just nine from Andreeva, who only showed the briefest resistance with a sole break early in the second set.

But strong favourite Sabalenka, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, made an instant response by breaking back, ultimately winning five of the final six games to ruthlessly close out the victory.

She will play a qualifier – either Irene Burillo Escorihuela or Moyuka Uchijima – in the next round of the competition.

Data Debrief: Sabalenka extends first-round streak

Sabalenka has now won each of her last 15 first-round matches at grand slam tournaments, not suffering defeat at the first hurdle since a clash against Carla Suarez Navarro at the Australian Open in January 2020. 

She has also won six R1 matches in a row at the French Open, not suffering an opening-round loss in Paris since the 2018 edition.

Sabalenka will continue her bid to become the first female player to win both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in a calendar year since Serena Williams in 2015. Her record on clay this season is now improved to a healthy 12-3.

Andreeva, meanwhile, was always likely to find the going tough and won just eight of her 23 points on first serve as she was broken five times across the contest. The 19-year-old is yet to reach a grand slam second round.

Elena Rybakina began her French Open campaign with a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over Greet Minnen on Tuesday, teeing up a second-round clash with Arantxa Rus or Angelique Kerber.

Having been forced to withdraw from the Italian Open due to illness earlier this month, Rybakina made a rusty start as she dropped serve in the opening game.

However, she quickly recovered her composure to produce a powerful performance, firing off 36 winners and forcing 10 break points – four of which were converted.

Moving well throughout and excelling at the net, Rybakina converted her second match point after 74 minutes on court, ensuring smooth progress to the second round. 

Data Debrief: Rybakina ready to challenge Swiatek

Rybakina has been tipped to rival world number one Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros this year, and she now boasts a 9-1 record on clay for 2024.

Her win ratio on the surface this season stands at 90 per cent, with only Swiatek (93.8 per cent, 15-1) faring better on the WTA Tour.

Novak Djokovic remains capable of enjoying a successful 2024 but has been declining for some time, believes former world number six Gilles Simon.

Djokovic won three grand slam singles titles last year to take his overall tally to 24, equalling Margaret Court's overall record among male and female players.

However, he has been far from his best in 2024, going out to eventual winner Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semi-finals and failing to capture a single ATP Tour title.

Djokovic was beaten by Tomas Machac in the last four at the Geneva Open last week and said on Monday he was "not expecting" to retain his French Open crown.

He begins his Roland-Garros campaign against Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Tuesday.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Roland-Garros eSeries by Renault tournament, Simon feels Djokovic's downturn is only natural, given he turned 37 earlier this month.

Simon said: "You are in a very short media window and it is amazing how things change. Last year when he lost [the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz], I said that for me, he had one year left.

"It's more a question of age, there's a break around 37 or 38, when it gets tough. He was playing well last year, he won three grand slams, but I've seen him drop for a while now.

"For me, there were already signs on the court that he's dropping, but he was and still is completely capable of having a great 2024 season. 

"I have more doubts about the 2025 season, and I already had some last year, above all linked to the physical aspect."

Despite a difficult few months, Simon has no doubt that Djokovic – who is 14-5 for 2024 – can still put himself in contention for silverware. 

"Now he's in a slump, so everyone wants to bury him, but he's still capable of playing very well," he continued. 

"Last year it was [seen as] shameful to say that he was starting to drop, with people saying, 'You're talking rubbish, he's won three grand slams'.

"If I say now that he's playing well, they'll tell me he's finished, that he lost again in Geneva. Take it easy! We're not going to bury him. Nobody's going to bury Novak and he is still capable of great things.

"On the other hand, he's like everyone else. He's reaching an age where players like [Rafael] Nadal before him or like [Roger] Federer before him have dropped."

The Boston Celtics return to the NBA Finals as a different team to that beaten by the Golden State Warriors two years ago, says their Eastern Conference finals hero Jaylen Brown.

Brown won the Larry Bird Trophy as Eastern Conference finals MVP on Monday, having helped the top-seeded Celtics complete a 4-0 series sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

In Game 4, Brown sank 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics recovered from a nine-point deficit with under nine minutes left for a 105-102 victory.

The Celtics have reached the Eastern Conference finals six times in the last eight years but this is just the second time they have progressed to the NBA Finals in that run. They last did so in 2021-22, only to be beaten 4-2 by the Warriors.

Brown believes they have become a better team for that experience, however.

"We feel like we're a different team than we were last year and the year before that," Brown said. 

"I know everybody wants to continue to pigeonhole us with what was happening in the past but we've had a different team every single year, different coaches, we've had like three coaches in the last five years. 

"Still people want to make it seem like it's the same, it's the same, it's the same.

"Time has gone by, experience has been gained and I think we are ready to put our best foot forward."

Jayson Tatum supported Brown with 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists on Monday, while Jrue Holiday had 17 points and Derrick White tacked on 16.

"It's special," Tatum said. "Even though we've been there before, most of us have, you don't take it for granted. We were excited.

"It was a hell of a team we just played, they made us earn every single game and we're extremely grateful to move on to the Finals."

Rafael Nadal is unlikely to appear at Wimbledon in July, with the Olympic Games his focus following his early exit from the French Open.

Nadal played what is likely to be his final match at the French Open – where he has won a record 14 titles – on Monday as he suffered a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 first-round loss to Alexander Zverev.

The Spaniard has repeatedly suggested he will call time on his glittering career at the end of 2024, having been hamstrung by hip and abdominal injuries in recent years.

Nadal previously said he wished to make farewell appearances at each grand slam, but he now believes transitioning to grass before Wimbledon will be difficult.

"For me now it looks difficult to make a transition to grass, then having the Olympics again on clay," Nadal said. "I cannot confirm anything. I need to talk with the team and analyse facts.

"But I don't think it's going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body to make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay."

However, Nadal's participation at the Olympics – where the tennis tournaments will be held at Roland Garros – is subject to his fitness.

If he is able to play, Nadal – a two-time Olympic gold medallist – hopes to play doubles with world number three Carlos Alcaraz. 

"I cannot tell you if I will be playing or not in one month and a half, because my body has been a jungle for two years," he added.

"You don't know what to expect. I wake up one day and I found a snake biting me. Another day a tiger."

Asked about the prospect of teaming up with Alcaraz, he said: "If everything goes well, we are going to play doubles together here."

Charlie Blackmon's three-run homer capped a big fourth inning that propelled the Colorado Rockies to an 8-6 victory over Cleveland on Monday, ending the Guardians' season-high nine-game winning streak.

The Rockies scored six times in the fourth to erase an early 4-1 deficit and end the American League Central-leading Guardians' longest sequence of consecutive wins since an AL-record 22-game run in 2017.

Blackmon added a run-scoring double and finished 3 for 4 to lead the Rockies to their fourth win in six games. Elehuris Montero had a two-run single during the fourth-inning outburst, while Sean Bouchard also drove in two runs and scored twice for Colorado.

Josh Rogers earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings in relief of Anthony Molina, who was pulled after permitting three runs and walking three over the first 1 2/3 innings.

Colorado loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on a pair of walks issued by Cleveland starter Xzavion Curry and a single by Brendan Rodgers. After a fielding error by Guardians' second baseman Andres Gimenez let in a run, Montero laced a single to center to tie the game at 4-4 before Blackmon drove Curry's pitch over the right field wall to put the Rockies ahead.

Curry lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered seven runs - six earned - on six hits.

Blackmon increased the lead to 8-4 with a sixth-inning double that plated Bouchard, who had reached on a walk.

The Guardians inched closer when Bo Naylor singled in the seventh and scored on Jose Ramirez's two-out double, then further closed the gap against Colorado closer Jalen Beeks in the ninth.

Tyler Freeman doubled with one out and Gimenez followed with a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 8-6. Beeks settled down and struck out Ramirez, however, before retiring Josh Naylor on a pop-up to notch his fifth save.

Freeman went 3 for 5 and opened the game with a double before later crossing the plate on a Ramirez groundout for Cleveland's first run. The center fielder put the Guardians up 3-0 with an RBI single in the second, after Cleveland had pushed home a run earlier in the inning without a hit due to two walks issued by Molina and a hit batter.

Bouchard delivered a run-scoring double in the bottom of the second to get the Rockies on the board, though Cleveland answered in the third when Ramirez doubled and came home on David Fry's single for a 4-1 advantage.

 

Brewers down Cubs in ex-manager Counsell's return to Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers scored five times in the eighth inning, highlighted by a three-run homer by Willy Adames, to hand former manager Craig Counsell a loss in his return to American Family Field with Monday's 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. 

Jackson Chourio added two hits, including a run-scoring double, to help the Brewers take the opener of this high-profile three-game series between National League Central foes, a rivalry made more intense by Counsell resigning as Milwaukee's manager in the offseason to take the same position with the Cubs.

Counsell is the Brewers' all-time leader in wins by a manager with 707 and guided the club to five play-off appearances in nine seasons. The Wisconsin native was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Milwaukee crowd during a video montage put together by the Brewers to honour their ex-skipper before the game.

Neither team scored over the first seven innings while receiving standout performances from their starting pitchers, but the Brewers broke out against the Chicago bullpen after Counsell removed Justin Steele before the start of the bottom of the eighth.

Sal Frelick greeted reliever Mark Leiter with a single and Brice Turang drew a walk before Chicago third baseman Nick Madrigal mishandled a ground ball to allow Frelick to score the go-ahead run.

Adames then walloped Hayden Wesneski's 3-0 pitch over the center field wall to stake the Brewers to a 4-0 lead. Joey Ortiz walked two batters later and Chourio drove him home with a double to increase the margin.

The Cubs ended the shutout bid in the ninth when Seiya Suzuki walked, advanced to third on a Cody Bellinger single and scored on Patrick Wisdom's sacrifice fly. 

Steele struck out eight while yielding just three hits over seven innings, while Robert Gasser held the Cubs to three hits and struck out seven through six scoreless innings. 

 

Lodolo returns to lead Reds to a fourth straight win

Nick Lodolo threw 5 1/3 effective innings in his return from the injured list as the Cincinnati Reds extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lodolo (4-2) gave up a solo homer to Paul Golschmidt in the first inning but was nearly spotless thereafter in his first start since missing just over two weeks with a groin strain. The left-hander permitted just four other hits and walked none while recording three strikeouts.

Jeimer Candelario answered Goldschmidt's third homer in two games with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the first inning before the Reds moved ahead with two unearned runs off Lance Lynn in the second. 

Nick Martini opened Cincinnati's half of the inning by reaching on an error by St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado. Jonathan India then singled, and Will Benson followed with a base hit of his own to plate Martini for a 2-1 lead.

Another St. Louis error, a misplay by Goldschmidt on a grounder off the bat of Jacob Hurtubise, allowed India to score the Reds' third run.

The Cardinals didn't manage another hit after Lodolo exited, as Fernando Cruz and Sam Moll combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings before Lucas Sims retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.

St. Louis had a season-high run of five consecutive wins halted, though shortstop Masyn WInn extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a third-innng single.

Lynn (2-3) worked six innings and allowed all three Cincinnati runs, though just one was earned due to the Cardinals' two errors in the second. 

 

Jason Robertson finished his first career play-off hat trick with the tie-breaking goal in the third period as the Dallas Stars rallied for a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Monday's Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

Wyatt Johnston and Miro Heiskanen also had goals to give the Central Division champion Stars a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series despite a 2-0 deficit after one period. 

Dallas also got a lift from the return of Roope Hintz, who assisted on Robertson's first two goals in his first appearance since missing the team's last four games with an upper-body injury. 

Jake Oettinger also had a hand in the victory, as the Dallas goaltender withstood an early and late barrage of shots to record 27 saves and outplay counterpart Stuart Skinner, who stopped just 17 shots for Edmonton.

The Stars improved to 6-1 on the road in this post-season and can move a win away from their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in five years in Wednesday's Game 4, which will also take place in Edmonton. 

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who built a 2-0 lead just 7:37 in before the Stars rallied with three straight goals in the second period.

Robertson began the comeback with a pair of goals 2:30 apart, with the second coming 8:05 into the stanza when he backhanded a loose puck over Skinner's shoulder.

Dallas, which outshot the Oilers by a 16-7 margin in the second period, needed only 63 seconds to strike again. Jamie Benn out-raced an Edmonton defender for the puck behind the Oilers' net and the Stars got it into the crease for an awaiting Johnston, who hammered home a close-range shot for his eighth goal of the post-season.

Edmonton would recover, however, to tie the game 53 seconds before the second intermission. Warren Foegele forced a turnover in the Dallas zone and teammate Connor Brown corralled the puck before delivering a centering pass that Adam Henrique knocked past Oettinger to forge a 3-3 deadlock.

Henrique was playing for the first time since May 10 after missing seven straight games with an ankle injury.

The Oilers then owned a 13-3 shot advantage in the third period, but still fell behind when Robertson jammed the puck past Skinner with 8:06 remaining to complete his hat trick.

Oettinger made the lead hold up before Heiskanen scored into an empty net with 1:52 left shortly after Skinner was pulled for an extra attacker.

Edmonton got the game off to a flying start when Zach Hyman deflected McDavid's chance on net past Oettinger just 2:02 in. The goal was Hyman's league-leading 13th of this post-season.

McDavid increased the lead just 5:35 later by knocking in a loose puck sent to the Dallas net by teammate Mattias Ekholm.

 

 

 

 

Derrick White's tie-breaking 3-pointer with 45 seconds left sent the Boston Celtics into the NBA Finals for the second time in three years with a 105-102 win over the Indiana Pacers in Monday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The top-seeded Celtics, who were ousted in seven games by the Miami Heat in last year's East finals, completed a sweep of this best-of-seven series by rallying from a nine-point deficit with under nine minutes left.

Jaylen Brown led Boston's comeback by scoring 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and coming up with a key late block that preceded White's winning shot. The Celtics also received 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from Jayson Tatum, as well as another strong performance from their backcourt duo of White and Jrue Holiday.

Holiday totalled 17 points and nine rebounds while White had 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting along with a game-high five steals.

The sixth-seeded Pacers were unable to extend the series while playing a second straight game without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who injured his hamstring in Thursday's Game 2.

Andrew Nembhard led Indiana with 24 points and 10 assists, while Pascal Siakam posted 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Celtics will face the winner of the Western Conference finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, and will host Game 1 on Thursday, June 6. The Mavericks lead that series 3-0 and can advance at home in Tuesday's Game 4. 

A tightly contested game saw neither side lead by more than eight points until the Pacers put forth a 5-0 run, capped by Nembhard's 3-point play with 8:57 left to play, to take a 94-85 advantage.

Indiana led 98-90 with under six minutes to go before the Celtics began catching fire. After Brown hit two free throws and Tatum knocked down a 3-pointer, Holiday drove the lane and was fouled while getting a layup to go down following a made basket by Nembhard. Boston's veteran guard calmly hit the ensuing free throw to bring the Celtics within 100-98 with 3:54 left.

It remained a two-point game until Brown knocked down a floater with 2:40 left to tie the score at 102-102. Shortly thereafter, the All-Star forward rejected Nembhard in the lane as Boston's Al Horford grabbed the rebound with the contest headed towards the final minute of play.

Brown then found an open White in the right corner, and the valued guard drained a 23-footer to send the Celtics ahead.

Indiana had one final chance to force overtime, but Nembhard's 3-point try missed the mark and the Pacers failed to get another shot off. 

 

 

 

Daniil Medvedev staved off a Dominik Koepfer fightback to record a battling victory in the French Open first round on Monday.

The world number five raced out the blocks on Court Simonne-Mathieu and eventually triumphed 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3 in Paris.

Medvedev, a five-time major runner-up and 2021 US Open champion, broke Koepfer's first service game in the French capital with that a seeming sign of things to come.

Though the 28-year-old dropped his serve in the first set, Medvedev had little trouble in responding with the score finely poised at 3-2 to claim first blood at Roland-Garros.

The fifth seed has only ever gone as far as the quarter-finals, three years ago, at the French Open but showed his clinical best to snatch the second set after holding all six service games for a narrow triumph.

World number 65 Koepfer battled back in the third but the resilient Medvedev responded by breaking his German opponent early in the fourth set, finally securing victory in just over three hours.

Data Debrief: Medvedev gets better of Koepfer again

Medvedev has won all four of his meetings with Koepfer, with his most recent such victory seeing him reach the second round at Roland-Garros for the third time in eight attempts.

Since the start of the 2021 season, Medvedev is 27-1 against players ranked outside the top 50 at major events, with his only loss in that run coming against Seyboth Wild in the French Open first round last year.

Koepfer, meanwhile, extends to 1-17 against top-10 players in his career, earning his only such victory against over Gael Monfils – then ranked ninth in the world – at the 2020 ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

Varvara Gracheva produced an eye-catching upset after sending Maria Sakkari crashing out of the French Open on Monday.

World number 88 Gracheva battled to a 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory on Court Simonne-Mathieu, claiming a notable Roland-Garros scalp in the first round.

Gracheva clinched five of six break points in an impressive fightback after falling a set down in Paris to sixth seed Sakkari.

Her reward will be a second-round meeting with Bernarda Pera, who overcame Japan's Nao Hibino in straight sets on the same day.

Data Debrief: Gracheva earns top-10 scalp

Gracheva will be bidding to make the third round in Paris for the third time in her career after Sakkari became the first big-name exit in the women's draw.

This victory against world number eight Sakkari marked Gracheva's fourth top-10 win in her career, and second win against such opponents in major events.

Rafael Nadal says there is a high chance he has appeared at the French Open for the final time after his first-round exit on Monday.

The Spaniard has won a record 14 titles on the clay courts at the Paris tournament, yet came unstuck in a straight-sets hammering by Alexander Zverev.

An emotional Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd watched on as Nadal was picked apart by the impressive Zverev, who triumphed 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over three hours.

In doing so, Zverev became only the third player to defeat Nadal at Roland-Garros – after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic.

Yet this defeat could mark Nadal's last in the French capital as speculation swirls over the 37-year-old's future with injury issues persisting.

Nadal said after the loss: "It's incredible. I don't know if it's going to be the last time that I'm going to be here in front of all of you.

"I am not 100 per cent sure, but if it's the last time, I have enjoyed it. The crowd have been amazing during the whole week of preparation and today.

"The feelings I have today are difficult to describe in words. For me, it's so special to feel the love of the people in the place that I love the most."

Nadal has won 112 matches at Roland-Garros, the highest tally in men's singles main draws in the Open Era at a single major event.

The 22-time major winner adding to that impressive record appears unlikely.

"I have been going through a very tough two years in terms of injuries," he continued. "I went through all these processes with the dream to be here at Roland Garros.

"I was competitive, I had my chances, but it was not enough against a great player like Sacha.

"There's a big percentage that I will not be back here playing at Roland-Garros, but I can say that I've enjoyed playing here a lot.

"Maybe, in two months, I say it's enough and I can't give anything else, but it's something I don't feel yet.

"I have some goals. I hope to be back on this court for the Olympics, that motivates me. That's going to be another chance. I really hope to be well-prepared."

Basketball legend Bill Walton died Monday at the age of 71.

The NBA announced he passed away following a prolonged battle with cancer.

During a 10-year professional career, Walton won a pair of NBA titles and was named the 1977-78 league MVP. He was also included on the NBA's 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams.

He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1974-75 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers following a brilliant collegiate career that saw him win a pair of national titles at UCLA and earn three national player of the year awards.

"Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

He helped redefine the centre position, but his career was cut short by foot injuries.

After averaging 17.1 points and 13.5 rebounds in his first four seasons with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 boards in his final six seasons with the Clippers and Celtics.

He led Portland to the 1976-77 NBA title, while being named Finals MVP, and later won a championship with Boston in 1985-86.

He retired after playing just 10 games in the 1986-87 season, and was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

Following his playing career, Walton became a star broadcaster for decades. He became known for his colourful broadcasting style, where he enthusiastically offered high praise and also blunt criticism.

"What I will remember most about him was his zest for life," Silver said. "He was a regular presence at league events – always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. "

 

Jamaican gymnasts Alana Walker and Isabelle David delivered strong performances at the 2024 Pan American Artistic Gymnastics Championships, finishing 15th and 17th, respectively, in Santa Marta, Colombia. The competition, held from May 22-26, marked a historic achievement for Jamaica as both gymnasts reached the all-around finals.

 Head coach Mladen Stefanov expressed his pride in the gymnasts’ achievements. “I am so happy with Isabelle David and Alana Walker’s performance at the Pan Am Games 2024. Both of them got through the qualifying round and made it to the top 24 in the final. This is the first time that Jamaica has had two athletes in the all-around final. Our gymnasts were able to do their skills with confidence and really show their potential, making us proud. It was a long week of competing, and they had to compete two times in three days, which is very hard, but somehow they were able to pull it off. They were trained well, and I am so happy that we were a part of the 2024 Pan Am Games and represented Jamaica in the best way possible.”

 Alana Walker

Alana Walker, who secured a top-15 finish with a combined score of 46.867, reflected positively on her performance despite some challenges. She achieved scores of 8.900 on the vault, 7.30 on the uneven bars, 6.51 on the balance beam, and 6.865 on the floor exercise. “Although the finals didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, it was a great end to my 2024 season. I am proud of my top-15 finish for team Jamaica and I also want to say thank you to coaches Mladen and Mary [Marylin Pretov] for helping me through this competition. I look forward to continuing my gymnastics career at Stanford University.”

Isabelle David 

Isabelle David, who finished 17th with a total score of 45.867, was also pleased with her performance. She scored 9.40 on the vault, 7.5 on the uneven bars, 6.5 on the balance beam, and 6.967 on the floor exercise. “Even though our all-around finals didn’t go exactly as planned, I am very proud I hit eight out of eight routines while at Pan Ams. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been here and represent Jamaica, and I am grateful to coaches Mary and Mladen for supporting everyone on the team during this competition. I am very happy with this end to my 2024 season and I am looking forward to opportunities to compete and represent Jamaica in the future.”

The success of Walker and David at the Pan American Championships underscores the progress of Jamaican gymnastics on the international stage, showcasing the nation’s potential and dedication to excellence in the sport.

 

 

 

 

Rafael Nadal's possible French Open swansong came to an end following a straight-sets defeat by Alexander Zverev.

The German came out on top 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over three hours on an emotional Court Philippe-Chatrier.

It is widely believed this will be the Spaniard's final appearance at Roland Garros, where he has won a record 14 titles, though the 37-year-old acknowledged he is not yet certain on his future.

The two players were back on Chatrier two years after their notorious semi-final showdown, which was curtailed when Zverev suffering a horrifying ankle injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

However, fresh from his ATP Masters triumph at the Italian Open, the German was quickly into his stride this time around, winning 12 of his last 13 service points on the way to taking the first set.

The fourth seed, who has reached three successive French Open semi-finals, then prevailed in a nail-biting second-set tie-break, before a couple of breaks in the third paved the way for him to seal a commanding win.

Data Debrief: Third time lucky for Zverev

Whether or not that was Nadal's final match at the French Open remains to be seen.

What is certain is that his 14 titles are the most by any player in a single tournament in the Open Era, and his 112 match wins are the highest tally in men's singles draws in a single major event.

Of the 74 different opponents he has faced at Roland Garros, Zverev is only the third to defeat the Spaniard after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic.

Coco Gauff made a statement of intent as she steamrollered grand slam debutant Julia Avdeeva in the French Open first round.

The world number three needed just 52 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 rout on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Runner-up to Iga Swiatek two years ago, Gauff has also reached a further two quarter-finals in her four previous appearances at Roland Garros

The reigning US Open champion, who reached the Italian Open semi-finals last time out on clay, wasted little time in launching her quest for another deep run in the French capital.

Avdeeva had come through three qualifying matches to secure her maiden appearance in the main draw of a major.

However, the world number 208 simply had no answer for a relentless Gauff, who did not face a single break point and lost just eight points in her seven service games.

Sealing her biggest victory in a completed match at Roland Garros, the 20-year-old set up a second-round clash with 2021 semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek.

Data Debrief: 50 up for Gauff

An Australian Open semi-finalist in January, Gauff's quickfire victory was also her 50th match win in the main draw of a grand slam, becoming the ninth American woman to reach that milestone before turning 21.

The 20-year-old lost just one point off her own serve, and is now 16-3 in first-round major matches (5-0 at Roland Garros).

Iga Swiatek insists it is "too early" for her to be compared with Rafael Nadal, despite her impressive record at the French Open.

The three-time champion, who lifted Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2020, 2022 and 2023, began her quest for a third successive Roland Garros title with a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory over Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

Swiatek took just 61 minutes to wrap up her 15th straight win at the season's second major, becoming the first player to enjoy such a streak since Justine Henin's run of 24 straight victories between 2005 and 2010.

The Pole has now won 29 of her first 31 matches at the French Open, with only Chris Evert and Monica Seles (both 30) triumphing more often.

Her exploits on clay have drawn comparisons to those of 14-time men's singles champion Rafael Nadal, but the world number one still feels she has a long way to go before those can be made.

"I think it's too early [to be called Queen of clay]," she told Eurosport. "Comparing myself to [Nadal], I don't think I'm at that level yet. I still have many things to prove.

"He's a great person and a great athlete; I think he's shown that for many, many years. I'm just at the beginning. I'll do my best to take some lessons from him on being a good person and a good player."

"I'm really proud of my achievements and this has always been my favourite surface," added Swiatek, who will play Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster second-round showdown. 

"It feels like home here. Hopefully, I'm going to be here as long as possible."

Iga Swiatek set up a mouth-watering second-round showdown with Naomi Osaka at the French Open, after storming past Leolia Jeanjean 6-1 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The world number one - champion here in 2020, 2022 and 2023 - made a strong start in her quest for a third straight Roland Garros title, taking just 61 minutes to wrap up her 15th successive win in Paris.

Swiatek had also won each of her last 12 matches on clay ahead of this contest, having gone back-to-back in Madrid and Rome.

And the Pole picked up from where she left off, breaking in her opponent's opening service game as she came flying out of the blocks before taking the first set in just 29 minutes.

Jeanjean broke in the opening game of the second set, but it proved a false dawn for the French qualifier, who was broken a further three times herself as Swiatek soared through.

Next up for her will be fellow four-time major winner Osaka in what promises to be a blockbuster second-round clash at Roland Garros.

Data Debrief: Swiatek matches Henin, Evert, Seles and Graf

Winning 15 consecutive matches at the French Open, Swiatek is the fifth player to do so and first since Justine Henin's streak of 24 straight victories between 2005 and 2010.

Chris Evert, Monica Seles and Steffi Graf are the other three players to win 15 on the spin at Roland Garros.

Meanwhile, only Evert and Seles (both 30) have won more of their first 31 matches at the season's second major than the Pole (29).

Ons Jabeur raced through to the French Open second round after a commanding 6-3 6-2 victory over Sachia Vickery.

The three-time major runner-up took just 81 minutes to book her place in round two at Roland Garros, where she was a quarter-finalist 12 months ago.

A combination of injuries and inconsistent form meant Jabeur arrived in Paris with a 6-9 record for 2024, suffering a first-round exit to Sofia Kenin at the Italian Open last time out.

However, the eighth seed looked in fine fettle on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, with early breaks in both sets paving the way for a comfortable passage into round two at the expense of the American wildcard.

The most recent of her grand slam final defeats came last year at Wimbledon against Marketa Vondrousova, who was also a dominant winner in round one.

Runner-up to Ashleigh Barty in 2019, the fifth seed's quest to go one better five years later began with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Spain's Rebeka Masarova.

Data Debrief: Jabeur On it

Jabeur will not have known what to expect following a stop-start 2024 thus far. However, the Tunisian looked sharp as she won 23 out of 28 points on her first serve, as well as nine of 11 net points.

The eighth seed dominated her opponent with 30 winners to eight, while her drop shots (22-4) were also on point throughout the contest.

Jannik Sinner made a strong start to his French Open title quest with a dominant straight-sets victory over Christoper Eubanks.

The second seed took just over two hours to wrap up a commanding 6-3 6-3 6-4 win against his American opponent on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Reigning Australian Open champion Sinner is one of the favourites to go all the way at Roland Garros this year, having also triumphed in Rotterdam and Miami in 2024.

Although, the Italian had not played since withdrawing from the Madrid Open earlier this month with a hip injury.

Nevertheless, he broke Eubanks, who reached last year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, three times on his way to taking the opening set.

Sinner, who will become the first Italian to top the ATP rankings should he reach the final this fortnight, broke early again in the next two sets to set up a second-round meeting with veteran Richard Gasquet.

Data Debrief: Sinner matches 'the big three'

Sinner, 22, became only the fourth player in the last 30 years to win his first eight men's single major matches of the season before turning 23, after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The Italian has now won 11 of his 12 matches at Roland Garros against players ranked outside the top 10, with his only such defeat coming against world number 79 Daniel Altmeier in last year's second round.

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