Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal roll in French openers

Novak Djokovic closed out on his fifth match point and is now 36-2 on a season, including five titles.
By The Sports NetworkUpdated May 26, 2015 at 4:08 PM
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Current world No. 1 stalwart Novak Djokovic and nine-time champion Rafael Nadal were a pair of first-round winners Tuesday at the French Open.

The two-time Roland Garros runner-up Djokovic got past veteran Finnish left-hander Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, while the former world No. 1 great Nadal eased past 296th-ranked Frenchman Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Court Chatrier. Djokovic trailed 2-5 in the second set before charging back to win 11-of-13 games against Nieminen and extend his current winning streak to 23 matches.

Djokovic surged to a 4-0 lead in the third set, before Nieminen made life difficult for the top seed. The 33-year-old Finn saved three match points in a 14-point seventh game. Djokovic eventually closed out on his fifth match point and is now 36-2 on a season, including five titles.

Nieminen is now 0-11 against world No. 1s.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal beat the eight-time major titlist Djokovic in last year's final to capture a fifth straight title at Roland Garros, where the Spanish star is now 67-1 for his career, including a victory over Djokovic in the 2012 final as well.

Nadal entered this fortnight with his lowest seed ever in Paris -- No. 6. He did not win any of the four French Open tune-up events this spring, including a loss to Andy Murray in a Masters final in Madrid.

Nadal will face fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the round of 64.

David Ferrer and Marin Cilic joined Djokovic and Nadal in the second round.

Ferrer, the seventh seed and 2013 French Open runner-up, blasted Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1, while Cilic, the ninth seed and reigning U.S. Open champ, had little trouble in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 romp of Dutchman Robin Haase.

Sixteenth-seeded American John Isner moved on with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi.

Also on Day 3, 15th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson handled American Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, 20th-seeded French favorite Richard Gasquet rolled past Belgian Germain Gigounon 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 and 23rd-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer outlasted Czech Jiri Vesely 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Mayer was a runner-up on clay in Nice last week.


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