PARIS (Dispatches) - Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who is seeking his record 13th title at Roland Garros, eased through the first round with a comfortable 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov.
Newly-crowned U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem also claimed straightforward victory as the Austrian beat 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 earlier in the afternoon.
"I played quite a solid match when I was serving, I was playing some good points. I did some good forehands, winners down the line, that’s a key shot for me,” said Nadal.
The Spaniard has won 94 matches at Roland Garros and if he can make it all the way to the final this year, there is a chance for him to equal old rival Roger Federer’s record of 20 major titles in his remarkable 100th win at the clay Grand Slam.
Third seed Thiem was competing for the first time as a Grand Slam winner and followed his fourth win in as many head-to-head clashes against Cilic. The 27-year-old improved his record at Roland Garros to 25-6.
"I am really happy about my first round. I was facing another great champion today. The transition to clay and the cold conditions worked out pretty well,” said Thiem.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, seeded fourth, was unable to clinch his first win at Roland Garros after being shocked by Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-1. It was the fourth successive first-round-exit for the 2019 US Open finalist at the French Open.
Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino claimed his first tour-level win in a more than six-hour marathon match against Corentin Moutet. It came close to breaking the 16-year-old record for the longest match at Roland Garros.
Giustino beat Moutet 0-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(3), 2-6, 18-16 as the deciding set alone lasted three hours.
"It means a lot for me. I think I improved a lot in the past two years. I believe in myself that I can make something better than I was before,” Giustino said.
In women’s singles actions, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams survived a topsy-turvy opening set to ultimately ease past fellow American Kristie Ahn, 7-6(2), 6-0 to advance.