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Djokovic, Nadal ease through First Round at French Open, Dimitrov ousted

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World no.1 Novak Djokovic and 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal have begun the journey towards their proposed showdown in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by picking up routine wins in their respective first round matches.

Djokovic faced arguably the tougher challenge taking on 33 year old Finn Jarkko Nieminen, now very much towards the twilight of his career. The first and third sets were routine for Nole, but he came perilously close to dropping the second with the veteran two points away from winning the set on a couple of occasions, but failing to take his chances.

Djokovic won the opening set 6-2 but fell 3-5 behind in the second. Nieminen had an opening on the Djokovic serve in the 9th game at 30-30 before the world no.1 held on. Nieminen then attempted to close out the set on his own serve, once again finding himself at 30-30 before he dropped serve.

Djokovic rattled off 9 games in a row between the second and third sets, finally closing out the match in a little over 2 hours, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. He has now stretched his unbeaten run to 23 matches, and is the overwhelming favourite to win his first French Open crown this summer.

Hoping to stand in Djokovic's way is the no.6 seed Rafael Nadal, who in 10 visits to Roland Garros has only suffered the one defeat. Nadal was not going to add to that number today as he cruised past 18 year old French wildcard recipient 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Nadal didn't exactly have it all his own way against last year's US Open runner-up, dropping his serve once in the opening set, but Hays was never really going to threaten the Spanish legend, who set up another French Open date with compatriot Nicolas Almagro. The duo have had some memorable clashes at Roland Garros over the years, with Nadal emerging victorious on each occasion. Almagro will get a chance to set the record straight thanks to his first round win against Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6).

Other winners on Day 3 of the French Open include 7th seed David Ferrer, 9th seed Maric Cilic, the big serving duo of Kevin Anderson and John Isner, and local favourites Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy.

The French Open did lose one of its seeds today though with 10th seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov going down in straight sets to American Jack Sock, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3.

First Round Scores:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 62 75 62

[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Quentin Halys (FRA) 63 63 64

[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 61 63 61

[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Robin Haase (NED) 62 64 62

Jack Sock (USA) d. [10] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 76 62 63

[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 64 62

[16] John Isner (USA) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 75 62 63

[20] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Germain Gigounon (BEL) 63 64 60

[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jiri Vesely (CZE) 36 76(6) 63 57 62

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. Michael Berrer (GER) 46 63 64 64

Joao Sousa (POR) d. Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 63 76(5) 61

Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) d. James Duckworth (AUS) 46 67(5) 76(4) 76(2) 60

Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d. Maxime Hamou (FRA) 67(4) 63 64 64

Nicolas Almagro (ESP) d. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 63 26 64 76(6)

Carlos Berlocq (ARG) d. Illya Marchenko (UKR) 46 36 63 75 62

Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 67(4) 61 61 75

Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) d. Joao Souza (BRA) 76(5) 64 64