PARIS: Defending champion Rafael Nadal got his bid for a record-extending 12th French Open title off to the perfect start by brushing aside German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, while world number one Novak Djokovic was also a comfortable victor in the first round at Roland Garros on Monday.
Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 victory on the rebuilt Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a clash with another German qualifier — world number 114 Yannick Maden — in round two.
Nadal had suffered three consecutive semi-final defeats earlier in the clay-court season, but appeared to find his best in an Italian Open title success sealed with victory over old rival Djokovic, while his French Open win-loss record now reads 87-2.
Djokovic laid down an early marker in his bid to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously for the second time, powering past Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz.
The 15-time major champion impressed in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 triumph and will face Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen in round two.
Laaksonen, who has spent the last year battling a mysterious allergy triggered by seafood, moved into the second round with a 6-1, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) victory over qualifier Pedro Martinez.
Earlier on Monday, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki collapsed to a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Russian world number 68 Veronika Kudermetova in the first round.
The Danish 13th seed had retired injured from her two previous matches in the lead-up to Roland Garros, and fell away badly after a strong first set.
Sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was forced to pull out before her scheduled opener against Sorana Cirstea with a left arm injury, but said she should be fit for Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.
Dutch fourth seed Kiki Bertens looked in fine fettle, though, beating home player Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-4 and Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty saw off American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-3 while 18th seed Julia Goerges of Germany was beaten 7-5, 6-1 by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, France’s Diane Parry, aged 16 years and 281 days, became the youngest player to win a main draw match at Roland Garros since 2009 and the youngest from her country since Alize Cornet in 2005 after beating Vera Lapko 6-2 6-4.
Johanna Konta snapped a run of four opening round defeats at Roland Garros with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Germany’s Antonia Lottner.
In the men’s event, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka progressed with a 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakian Jozef Kovalik.
Australian Alex De Minaur, seeded 21st, beat the United States’ Bradley Klahn 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
But 32nd seed Frances Tiafoe of the US, a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open in January, threw up a couple of times and his game came apart late in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 loss to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.
Other seeded players on the way home included Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev, who was eliminated 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 by Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Georgian 15th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was beaten 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 by Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero.