Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Dominic Thiem react to French Open wins
Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Dominic Thiem have all progressed to the second round of the French Open after convincing first-round wins.
Nadal, bidding to win a record-extending 13th French Open title, beat Bulgaria’s Egor Gerasimov in straight sets in two hours five minutes.
The 34-year-old faces American Mackenzie McDonald, ranked 211th, in the next round.
‘It’s a different Roland Garros,’ Nadal said. ‘Of course we play in the same place.
‘But the conditions are completely different than any other Roland Garros that we played.
‘The only thing I can do is just stay positive, do my job, try my best every single day.
American legend Williams, meanwhile, began her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 win over Kristie Ahn.
Williams was far from at her best during the early exchanges but improved as the match went on and will hope for further progress when she faces Tsvetana Pironkova in the next round.
‘The biggest difference was just confidence,’ she said. ‘I just need to play with more confidence, like I’m Serena.
‘So that was it. I just started playing like that. And I love the clay and I started playing like it, opening the court and moving and sliding.’
US Open champion Thiem also moved into the second round, beating former champion Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Thiem is bidding to win his first French Open title and second Grand Slam, having lost to Nadal in the last two finals at Roland Garros.
He said: ‘I try to be 100 per cent no matter the opponent.
‘But maybe there is some little extra motivation or some extra per cent in myself, because I know that I have to play my best tennis to beat Marin because of all the things he achieved and because he’s still playing really, really good.
‘The main challenge was to get the match tension again. Because I was on fire in New York for two weeks, and then one week at home where I tried to relax but not lose all the tension, because obviously I want to do well here in Paris.
‘I guess I found a good mixture, and I’m very happy with this first round today.’
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