Defending champion Novak Djokovic defeats Yoshihito Nishioka, claiming a consistent first-round win, Monday evening at the French Open.
Speaking about his adversary while assessing the match, the reigning champion commented: “He’s one of the quickest players on tour.”
“The conditions were quite slow, the ball was not bouncing, and it was just difficult to penetrate; the first set was very close.”
Adding: “I cruised through the second and third [set] when I started going through the ball a bit more. I have to be pleased overall.”
“Of course, I always expect highs from myself, so I can always do better, but it was a very good start to the tournament.”
The matchup was a tennis masterclass courtesy of the 35-year-old, who found himself up a set 6-3 after 52 minutes.
In the sixth game of the opener, Nishioka hit a double fault, which cost him a break of serve by the Serbian, who took a 4-2 lead, building a rock solid win.
The World No. 1 serve was sharp, winning 75 (24/32) percent of points on his first serve to his opponent’s 59 (10/17) percent.
Djokovic made a smooth start to the second set, breaking early the World No. 99, further producing three additional breaks in the third, fifth and seventh game over the 26-year-old.
Nishioka would break back to win a set, but the Belgrade native soon halted any recovery efforts made by his rival, closing a 6-1 win in 36 minutes.
The 20-time grand slam champion completed a nearly flawless tennis display, sealing the third set 6-0 to wrap up his first-round triumph.
According to Infosys stats, he hit 35 winners (9 aces), recording zero double faults, winning 73 (44/60) percent of points on his first serve and 42 (11/26) percent with his second to Nishioka’s 49% and 33%, respectively.
The Slovakian, trained by Djokovic’s former coach, Marian Vajda, reached his third ATP Tour final in Lyon last Saturday, losing to World No. 11 Cameron Norrie, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-1.
En route to the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon - an ATP 250 event, championship match, Molcan, 26, beat Coria 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 30 minutes.
Molcan and Coria’s encounter at Roland Garros got delayed for Tuesday due to the bad weather on Monday.
Djokovic and the 24-year-old Slovakian faced one another once on tour last year at the Belgrade 2 Serbia final - contested on clay, with the former edging the latter in two sets to lift the trophy.
Also, the two-time Roland Garros champion and Coria played the quarterfinals at the same event, where the former overcame the Argentine in straight sets.
One of them will face Djokovic on Wednesday in Paris.