Facing German opposition Wednesday at the French Open, legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both had no major issues. Yes, they were tested a bit, but the outcomes were never in doubt.
Playing on Suzanne Lenglen where he’s now 19-0, Nadal took care of qualifier Yannick Maden 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. If there was a blip, it was Rafa getting broken twice in the third set.
“I think it was a good match for the first two sets,” said Nadal. “Not unbelievable, but 6-1, 6-2, with positive feelings. Then in the third, being honest, I think I lost a little bit concentration and intensity. And then all the match became difficult.
“That’s just about concentration, my feeling, because the feeling on the match had been positive. Positive thing is every time that I had the mistake, then I had the break again, and that’s the good news.”
Nadal now meets David Goffin who eased past Miomir Kecmanovic in straights.
Over on Chatrier, Federer had a similar afternoon against “lucky loser” Oscar Otte, in control before a break in the third during a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win.
“I must say I feel really good, considering I haven’t played here in that long,” Federer said. “Especially if I think back a few weeks and months ago before Madrid, didn’t know how successful I was going to play or how I was going to feel on the clay.”
“The clay-court season has been, it’s been busy, and it’s nice this way. So I hope I can keep it up. Next round is definitely going to be tougher.”
Federer now gets Casper Ruud who advanced to his first Slam third round after upsetting Italian seed Matteo Berrettini in straights 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Federer recalled he played when Ruud’s dad, Christian, was on tour with him.
“I know probably more about his dad than about him. Even though I never played him, the father,” Federer said. “I know that he has improved a lot in recent years, and I think he plays very well on the clay. Again, I haven’t seen him play a whole lot. But for any 20-year-old to be on the big stage, playing a top guy, on a center court, that’s what you dream of.”
In the big match for the French fans, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost a break edge in the each of the last two sets and fell to Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“The main thing I could have been better today is on serves,” said Tsonga. “I had a low percentage of first serves. This prevented me from controlling the game a bit more. And to have less breaks, because he broke me quite regularly today. I’m not very accustomed to that, to have so many games where I’m broken…It’s pleasant to only have minor details to solve, to fight against these type of players.”
French fans did have something to cheer about as 37-year-old wildcard Nicolas Mahut crushed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. And 20-year-old Corentin Moutet eliminated Argentine Guido Pella.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka played one of his best matches, pounding popular dark horse Christian Garin 6-1, 6-4, 6-0.
“I’m happy with the way I have been playing today,” Wawrinka said. “I was really aggressive, moving much better than the first round.
“I like the conditions, I know how well I can play here. I know how well I have been practising and pushing myself to play a match like that. I’m happy with today, but this is just one match, so I just want to be ready for the next one.”
Earlier in the day, Stefanos Tsitsipas fought off a good effort from Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 win. He’ll now face Filip Krajinovic who hit 87 winners in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(1), 3-6, 8-6 result over Roberto Carballes Baena. It was the Serb’s second straight 5-set win.
Grigor Dimitrov knocked out the highest seed of the men’s event, eliminating No. 11 Marin Cilic in five sets 7(3), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 in 4 hours, 23 minutes for maybe his biggest win ever in Paris.
“Every win that I have now, I appreciate it,” said Dimitrov. “I don’t really think of who I’m playing against. I just want to have those wins… It was a very, very important match to me, without a doubt, though. Clearly I have struggled the past two, three months. The shoulder hasn’t been great. So a lot of moving parts. A lot of changes overall. I feel great, and I’m very, so to speak, focused and excited for what’s ahead.”
But that wouldn’t be the longest match of the day because after blowing a two set and break lead, Benoit Paire finally put away countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(6), 11-9 in 4 hours, 33 minutes.
Novak Djokovic returns Thursday in second round play against Swiss Henri Laaksonen. Juan Martin del Potro will meet Yoshihito Nishioka and Gael Monfils collides with countryman Adrian Mannarino.
Alexander Zverev, Lucas Pouille and Borna Coric are also in action
THURSDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER Début à 11h00
Dominic THIEM (AUT) v Alexander BUBLIK (KAZ)
12h00 (fin de partie 4/6 6/4 4/4) Belinda BENCIC (SUI)  v Laura SIEGEMUND (GER)
Serena WILLIAMS (USA) v Kurumi NARA (JPN)
Caroline GARCIA (FRA) v Anna BLINKOVA (RUS)
Martin KLIZAN (SVK) v Lucas POUILLE (FRA)
** Court Suzanne LENGLEN ** Début à 11h00
Naomi OSAKA (JPN)  v Victoria AZARENKA (BLR)
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  contre Henri LAAKSONEN (SUI)
Adrian MANNARINO (FRA) contre Gael MONFILS (FRA)
Simona HALEP (ROU)  contre Magda LINETTE (POL)
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