Rafa Nadal beats Alexei Popyrin to reach French Open second round
Title favourite Rafael Nadal defeated Alexei Popyrin in straight sets to reach the second round of the 2021 French Open.
The 13-time champion defeated the unseeded Australian 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in the opening round of the event.
“I am pretty happy with the way I played today. Not an easy match with Alexei who is a dangerous player,” Nadal said in his on-court interview.
“Well, the beginning of the match had been very tough too. He was playing bombs all the time and his serve was huge. And under these warm and fast conditions it’s always difficult.
“He’s young and the speed of his ball is incredible. He’s fast running and when he hit the ball (he) is every time going for the highest power possible.
“So, was a tough match and I was lucky to win that third set. I don’t know how but I found a way, so super happy”
Rafa Rolls ⇰
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 1, 2021
The third seed converted the only break point of the first set for 5-3, before serving out the set comfortably.
Nadal then broke the world No. 63 in his opening two service games of the second set en route to racing to a 2-0 sets lead.
The Spaniard fell behind 5-2 in the third set, but saved two set points to break back when Popyrin served for the set at 5-3.
Popyrin then saved four break points to hold on for 6-5, before Nadal held to take the set to a tiebreak.
Nadal dominated the tiebreak to book his spot in the second round – where he will play Richard Gasquet.
The 34-year-old has now won 26 consecutive sets at Roland Garros.
(Photo credit Ray Giubilo)
- Keep up to date with the breaking French Open News
- Follow the biggest matches with our French Open LIVE Commentary
- Miss nothing with Tennishead’s French Open LIVE SCORES service
- Join the tennishead CLUB and receive £250/$350 of FREE GEAR including ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 trainers, shorts, shirt & socks
- French Open Men’s Singles draw updated daily
- French Open Women’s Singles draw updated daily
- Today’s French Open order of play
- Check out the latest tennis equipment with our tennis gear reviews
- Receive regular updates in our legendary free newsletter
- Read in depth features with stunning photography in tennishead magazine
- Follow tennishead on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
- EXCLUSIVE 5% DISCOUNT for all tennishead readers on tennis rackets, balls, clothing, shoes & accessories with All Things Tennis, our dedicated tennis gear partner