Novak Djokovic, champion in 2009 and eleven time champion Rafael Nadal have begun their quest for the second grand slam title of the year with comprehensive straight sets win on Tuesday. The top seeded Djokovic, bidding for a second non-calendar slam in his career, had a 6-4,6-2,6-2 win over the rising Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, while the second ranked Nadal continued his impressive return to form with a 6-2,6-1,6-3 win over the German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.
The Spanish superstar Nadal improves to 87-2 at Roland Garros as he took only one hour and fifty seven minutes on court Philippe Chatrier which has been rebuilt over the past twelve months. He next faces another German qualifier Yannick Maden who won a battle of qualifiers over the Belgian Kimmer Copperjans with a 7-6(0),7-5,6-3 win. Djokovic followed him next on court against a tricky opponent ranked 44th in the world. The 22 year old Hurkacz could only match the Serb in the first set and could only offer token resistance in the next two sets. Djokovic faces the Swiss Henri Laaksonen who ousted the Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-1,6-0,7-6(4).
Fifth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, last week’s winner in Geneva squandered a two sets to one lead against the gritty Australian from Brisbane but recovered to win 7-6(4),3-6,6-2,6-7(5),6-3 in four hour and eight minutes in the longest match so far in the tournament. Fourth seeded Dominic Thiem also dropped a set before beating the 131st ranked American Tommy Paul 6-4,4-6,7-6(5),6-2.
Last year’s semi-finalist Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, seeded eighth dropped the first set against the promising Chilean Nicolas Jarry 3-6,6-2,6-1,6-4. Playing in only his fourth tournament of the year and the third on clay, the Argentine called the Tower of Tandill began hesitantly against Jarry who lost a close final to Zverev in Geneva on Saturday. As the match progressed Del Potro flourished as the 58th ranked Chilean lost his way.
In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, the Frenchman Pierre Hugues-Herbert rallied from a two set deficit to oust the twelveth seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev 4-6,4-6,6-3,6-2,7-5. Germany’s Jan Lennard Struff upset another NextGen star Denis Shapovalov of Canada, seeded twentieth with a 7-6(1),6-3,6-4 win. Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina upset the 15th seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-4,6-1,6-3. Serbia’s Fillip Krajinovic beat the 32nd seeded American Frances Tiafoe 6-2,4-6,6-3,3-6,6-0.
Other seeds to advance were the Frenchman Giles Simon who beat the Russian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3,6-3,6-4. Borna Coric of Croatia beat Aljaz Bedene of the Slovak Republic 6-1,6-7(4),6-4,6-4. In an all Italian match up the ninth seeded Fabio Fognini, the winner in Monte Carlo beat the veteran Andreas Seppi 6-3,6-0,3-6,6-3. The man who Fognini beat in the Monte Carlo final, 30th seeded Dusan Lajovic of Serbia breezed past the Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-3,6-4,6-4. The Briton Kyle Edmund completed a five set win over Jeremy Chardy of France 7-6(1),5-7,6-4,4-6,7-5. The match was halted due to bad light on Monday but the 28th seeded Edmund needed only two games to wrap up the match on Tuesday.
Seventeenth seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman had to battle all the way to beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-3,3-6,7-6(7),2-6,6-2. The talented Italian Matteo Berrettini, seeded 29th, won 6-7(3),6-4,6-4,6-2 against the Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Another Serb Laslo Djere, seeded 31st beat another Spaniard 6-3,6-2,7-6(2). Alex de Minaur, seeded 21st and the highest ranked Australian in the draw won 6-1,6-4,6-4 against the American Bradley Klahn.
The 24th seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, the 2015 champion took four sets to beat Josef Kovalik of the Slovak Republic 6-1,6-7(3),6-2,6-3. The 19th seeded Argentine Guido Pella took four sets to beat fellow Argentine Guido Andreozzi 7-6(4),6-4,1-6,6-1. The 25th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille was a 6-3,6-4,7-5 winner over the Italian Simone Bolelli. Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut was a 6-3,6-4,6-2 winner over the American Steve Johnson, while the Russian Karen Khachanov beat the German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-1,6-1,6-4. The Spanish left hander Fernando Verdasco outlasted the Briton Daniel Evans 6-3,6-7(4),6-3,6-2.
Following is the list of matches in the second round with my pick mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Henri Laaksonen (-)
Giles Simon (26) v. Salvatore Caruso (-)
Jan Lennard Struff (-) v. Radu Albot (-)
Borna Coric (13) v. Lloyd Harris (-)
Fabio Fognini (9) v. Frederico Delbonis (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (18) v. Taylor Fritz (-)
Dusan Lajovic (30) v. Elliot Benchetrit (-)
Alexander Zverev (5) v. Michael Ymer (-)
Dominic Thiem (4) v. Alexander Bublik (-)
Kyle Edmund (28) v. Pablo Cuevas (-)
Fernando Verdasco (23) v. Antoine Hoang (-)
Ivo Karlovic (-) v. Jordan Thompson (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (8) v. Yoshihito Nishioka (-)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) v. Hugo Dellien (-)
Fillip Krajinovic (-) v. Roberto Carballes Baena (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (24) v. Christian Garin (-)
Marin Cilic (11) v. Grigir Dimitrov (-)
Phillip Kohlschreiber (-) v. Nicholas Mahut (-)
Diego Schwartzman (17) v. Leonardo Mayer (-)
Matteo Berrettini (29) v. Christian Ruud (-)
Roger Federer (3) v. Oscar Otte (-)
Kei Nishikori (7) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (-)
Laslo Djere (31) v. Alexei Popyrin (-)
Karen Khachanov (10) v. Gregoire Barrere (-)
Lucas Pouille (22) v. Martin Klizan (-)
Alex de Minaur (21) v. Pablo Carreno Busta (-)
Benoit Paire (-) v. Pierre Hugues-Herbert (-)
Richard Gasquet (-) v. Juan Ignacio Londero (-)
Guido Pella (19) v. Corentin Moutet (-)
David Goffin (27) v. Miomir Kecmanovic (-)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Yannick Maden
Gael Monfils (15) v. Adrian Mannarino (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]