Nadal opens French Open title defense with easy victory

Agence France-Presse
Nadal opens French Open title defense with easy victory


The Spanish great dominates Yannick Hanfmann to start his bid for a record-extending 12th title

PARIS, France – Defending champion Rafael Nadal got his bid for a record-extending 12th French Open title off to the perfect start by brushing aside German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the first round on Monday, May 27. 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 victory on the rebuilt Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a clash with another German qualifier – world No. 114 Yannick Maden – in the second round.

Nadal had suffered 3 consecutive semiffinal losses earlier in the clay court season, but appeared to find his best in an Italian Open title success sealed with victory over old rival Novak Djokovic. 

“It’s always amazing to play here, the new Chatrier is very nice,” said second-seed Nadal, whose French Open win-loss record now stands at 87-2. “It’s been an important place in my career.”

“I played a good tournament in Rome which was very important for my confidence. Now we’ll see.”

The 32-year-old Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set before a second break of serve in the eighth game sealed it after just 40 minutes.

The 2nd set was over in a flash as Nadal crushed 9 winners past his beleaguered opponent.

The winning line honed into view when Nadal broke after a lengthy game to take a 2-1 advantage in the 3rd, and the Spaniard completed the job on his first match point as Hanfmann blasted long. –

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