• French Open, Day Three

No surprises for Nadal in breezy opener

ESPN staff
May 29, 2012

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Rafael Nadal made a comfortable start to the defence of his French Open title, although his main rivals may have picked up some reasons to be optimistic during his victory over Simone Bolelli.

For a short period in the second set Nadal - who has only ever lost once on the Roland Garros clay - was given the runaround by his Italian opponent, but that was just a brief blip on the way to a 6-2 6-2 6-1 victory.

Nadal comes into this year's tournament with six victories in seven appearances, so few expected him to have any trouble against Bolelli, ranked 111th in the world. And that certainly proved to be the case in the first set, as Nadal measured up his Italian opponent before picking him apart with two breaks of serve.

The second stanza appeared to be following the same pattern, before some of Bolelli's tactics suddenly started paying dividends. Bolelli was very willing to come to the net to smother his opponent while taking on ambitious passing shots from the baseline when backed into a hole - two approaches that briefly brought results.

Bolelli enjoyed his best phase of the contest after going 4-0 down in the second set, as he broke his vaunted opponent (after a double-fault) before holding onto his own serve to quickly double the number of games he had won in the contest.

He then had the chance to make it three successive games on the spin after Nadal double-faulted once again to set him up at 15-40, but an errant backhand and a put-away volley dug the world No. 2 out of a hole - although it took Nadal a few return trips to deuce before he finally put the game away.

Almost inevitably, Nadal followed that escape with a break of serve, clinching the second set. From that point you sensed any slim chance Bolelli had of victory had long since passed, and that proved to be the case as - despite the occasional further flash of inspiration from his opponent - Nadal wrapped up matters nice and neatly in barely two hours.

Nadal will now face Denis Istomin in the next round, after he dispatched Igor Kunitsyn 6-2 6-1 6-2.

Prior to Nadal's progression, Richard Gasquet delighted the crowd on Philippe Chatrier as he booked his place in the next round with a straight sets victory over Jurgen Zopp.

The 17th seed was expected to win but it was not a straightforward three-setter by any means, the German constantly probing his opponent on the way to an eventual 6-3 6-4 7-6(4) defeat.

Sixth seed David Ferrer needed just under two hours to secure his place in the second round, defeated Lukas Lacko 6-3 6-4 6-1 out on Court Two.

The Spaniard, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals at this event and was knocked out in the fourth round in 2011, got his campaign off to a solid start with a comfortable victory against the dangerous Slovakian, dropping just one break of serve during a slightly jittery opening set before cruising towards victory as his serve kept him out of trouble, with Lacko's higher number of unforced errors eventually costing him dear.

Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic overcame an early scare to defeat American Sam Querrey in four sets, 2-6 6-4 7-6(3) 6-3.

Querrey, on the comeback trail after struggling with injuries, was far the better player in the opening set, a set of circumstances that was reflected in the one-sided nature of the first set score. But the Serbian pulled himself together and edged the important points from that moment forward, eventually sealing matters in four sets thanks in part to a decisive third set tiebreak.

Florian Mayer cruised to a straight sets victory over Daniel Gimeno-Traver - the 32nd seed winning 6-4 6-2 6-3 - while Dimitry Tursunov won 6-1 6-4 6-4 against Go Soeda.

Mayer will now face Argentinian Eduardo Schwank, after he defeated Ivo Karlovic in straight sets. Tursunov, meanwhile, faces 29th seed Julian Benneteau - who won 6-2 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 against Mischa Zverev.

Other winners include Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Donald Young, Tommy Haas and Sergiy Stakhovsky.

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