PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal,the top two favorites at Roland Garros and the finalists of last year, kicked off their campaign both with straight-set wins.
The 34-year-old Spaniard was forced to save a set point in the third set but held his nerve to defeat Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
The Serbian top seed, playing under the light in the night session, eased past Tennys Sandgren of United States 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
However, Russia’s seventh seed Andrey Rublev was shocked by Germany’s world No. 42 Jan-Lennard Struff in a thrilling five-set battle. Struff powered to a two-set lead but lost the third and fourth before restoring in the deciding set to pocket the victory 6-3, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 after three hours and 46 minutes.
With the seedings based on the world rankings, four-time reigning champion Nadal, seeded third, was drawn in the same half with Djokovic and Switzerland’s giant Roger Federer who came to Paris as the eighth seed.