Last Update 21:44
Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Tennis: Nadal gets bid for 10th French Open off to flying start

AFP , Tuesday 26 May 2015
Nadal
Men's Singles - Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his first round match (Photo: Reuters)
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Defending champion Rafael Nadal began his campaign for a 10th French Open with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 breeze past France's world number 296 Quentin Halys on Tuesday.

Nadal, seeded a humble six this year -- his lowest for a decade -- needed just one hour and 50 minutes to record his 67th career win at Roland Garros.

The 28-year-old Spaniard, who is seeded to meet world number one Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, came into the tournament without a European claycourt title for the first time since 2005 and with many in the sport writing him off as a spent force.

But in a cheeky riposte to his critics, the 14-time major winner played with the number "9" stitched into the heels of his tennis shoes to remind people of his astonishing record at the tournament.

Nadal was not troubled by Halys, who was making his Grand Slam debut and playing just his second tour-level match.

Halys, 19, did retrieve an early break in the sixth game of the first set before Nadal reasserted his dominance to take the opener 6-3.

And that was about as good as it got for the Frenchman who ended the tie on Philippe Chatrier Court being broken five times and making 52 unforced errors.

Nadal edged ahead again in the second set for a decisive 4-2 lead while another break for 3-2 in the third proved enough.

Nadal goes on to face either compatriot Nicolas Almagro or Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov for a place in the last 32.

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