WORLD No7 Rafael Nadal began his quest for a 10th French Open title by cruising past French wildcard Quentin Halys in his first-round tie at Roland Garros yesterday.
Defending champion Nadal brushed aside the teenager 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes and will now face fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro for a place in the last 32 after he beat Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Nine-time winner Nadal is in the same half of the draw as world No1 and top seed Novak Djokovic, who stylishly dispatched Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in straight sets – his 23rd successive victory.
Djokovic could face Nadal as early as the quarter final but for now his attentions will be focused on either Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller or Italian Paolo Lorenzi in the second round.
The 28-year-old is bidding to secure a maiden French Open title and become the eighth man to complete a career grand slam of the major tournaments on the tennis calendar.
Men’s 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov, meanwhile, crashed out of the competition after slipping to a 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, 6-3 to American Jack Sock.
In the women’s competition, top seed Serena Williams made light work of her first-round clash and cantered past Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3.
Last year’s semi-finalist Eugenie Bouchard lost 6-4, 6-4 to France’s world No44 Kristina Mladenovic, which represented the Canadian’s eighth defeat in her last nine matches.