Nadal off to routine start in bid for 13th French Open title

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Rafael Nadal cruises through his Roland-Garros opener in straight sets on Monday evening, needing only two hours and five minutes against Egor Gerasimov. The 12-time champion awaits Mackenzie McDonald.
  • French Open first round

  • Nadal vs. Gerasimov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

  • Key info: Nadal converted all five of his break-point chances
  • You will also learn: The world No 2 struck eight more winners than Gerasimov
  • Why you should read this story: It was an interesting clash between two players who both did not like the conditions

It will take more than first-round win over the No 83 player in the world in order to tell how Rafael Nadal is handling unfavorable conditions at the French Open, but early returns were encouraging on Monday evening. Nadal rolled to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Egor Gerasimov that required only two hours and five minutes.

More winners for Rafa

Although slower, heavier conditions are not ideal for Nadal at this French Open that is taking place four months later than usual, they also weren’t good for Gerasimov. The big-hitting Belarusian struggled to hit through the court and penetrate Nadal’s defense. In fact, Gerasimov finished with far fewer winners than his opponent (24 to 32), which is never a recipe for success against Nadal on clay. The 27-year-old also recorded more unforced errors (28 to 20) — which, on the other hand, is not surprising at all.

It was a clean performance from the 12-time champion, who will have to be pleased with his plus-12 performance in the winners-to-errors department. He was broken only once and went a perfect 5-for-5 on break-point opportunities.

Next up for Nadal is Mackenzie McDonald, a four-set winner over qualifier. Steven Diez.

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