Rafael Nadal French Open 2021

Nadal powers past Haase


It was another ominous display from Nadal as his meaty forehand continues to be at the heart of his good work. His next opponent is Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Afterwards, Nadal said: “I worked hard during my career, sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t. Since the beginning of the season this year, I should be very happy with how things are going.”

Novak Djokovic also wrapped up a routine victory as well as Nadal. The defending champion, who will play Diego Schwartzman next, has still not found top gear but he secured a 6-1 6-4 6-3 success over Joao Sousa in just over two hours.

“In the first couple of rounds, I’m looking for intensity and focus,” said Djokovic. “Obviously I’m the favourite in these matches but it’s an unpredictable sport. I have to keep my focus and stick to my game-plan.”

World No.91 Renzo Olivo stunned local-favourite, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-5 6-4 6-7(6) 6-4 to claim the most significant win of his career and set up a second round clash with Kyle Edmund.

With play stopped due to fading light on Tuesday evening, the Frenchman was forced to serve to stay in the match on the resumption of play – but he faltered. A lacklustre start from the crowd-favourite proved to be costly, and his earliest exit at Roland Garros since 2005 was confirmed.

“I’m sorry for Tsonga,” remarked Olivo after securing just his second Top 20 win. “I got home at 1am and it was difficult to sleep. I had a massage, it wasn’t easy.

“I slept for a few hours, but it was difficult not to think about the restart. I took it one point at a time to stay calm. You have to focus on every point to beat a player like Tsonga.”

A dejected Tsonga said: “The first rounds are always difficult, you need to find your bearings. My opponent was playing his first French Open. He was full of energy. He really wanted to do his best, and it showed. It’s true that I didn’t have the best feeling yesterday or even today. I never really found the right pace.”

In a visually-appealing one-handed backhand duel, Dominic Thiem defeated Simone Bolelli 7-5 6-1 6-3. It was a workmanlike display from the Austrian who was wasteful on break-points chances – only converting six of 30 opportunities – but he can now look forward to a showdown with Steve Johnson.

“It was very important to win the first set,” admitted Thiem. “He [Bolelli] played very well and makes a lot of winners. He has unbelievable strokes and the first set was very close, but for sure, it was one key to the match today that I won it.

“A lot of players are working as hard as me and it’s necessary to play well. There is a tough match waiting for me on Friday so [Thursday] it’s going to be an easy fitness session and an hour and a half of tennis.”

David Goffin continues to make serene progress without much fanfare. The No.10 seed enjoyed a commanding 6-2 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Sergiy Stakhovsky, and he will be content with his haul of 44 winners. Up next for the Belgian is Horacio Zeballos, who has reached the third for the first time.

Grigor Dimitrov continues to move in the right direction and he defeated Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4 7-5.

There was also an emotional four-set victory for the American Steve Johnson, whose father died a few weeks ago, over Borna Coric.

Rafael Nadal French Open 2021
Copy link