French Open champion Nadal enjoys straightforward start

Defending champion Rafael Nadal began his bid for a 12th French Open title with a routine straight-sets defeat of qualifier Yannick Hanfmann on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Second seed Nadal has only twice lost at Roland Garros and was described by top-ranked rival Novak Djokovic as the "number one favourite" on the clay.

The 32-year-old's credentials were scarcely tested in his opener against world number 180 Hanfmann, though, as he ran out a 6-2 6-1 6-3 winner on Monday.

Nadal, in the same half of the draw as Roger Federer, will face Yannick Maden, another qualifier, next.

In his first game in the main draw at Roland Garros, facing down an all-time great, Hanfmann forged four break-point opportunities but saw Nadal battle to a surprisingly testing hold.

From there, Nadal found his feet and broke immediately before clinching the set on his opponent's serve as Hanfmann hammered into the net.

And a series of wayward efforts from Hanfmann saw the Spaniard soon go in front in the second, with his advantage then doubled by a pinpoint passing shot in the sixth game.

Hanfmann's tame drop shot in the following game handed Nadal the set and the German was then shrugging in frustration early in the third when the clay king outmanoeuvred him at the net.

It was not long until Nadal led again as Hanfmann failed to pick out the corner with a stretching forehand, before an unbelievable lob set up match point, seized in just under two hours.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Rafael Nadal [2] bt Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 6-1 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal - 25/16
Hanfmann - 20/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal - 5/2
Hanfmann - 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal - 6/10
Hanfmann - 0/4

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Nadal - 69
Hanfmann - 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Nadal - 82/61
Hanfmann - 56/41

TOTAL POINTS

Nadal - 94
Hanfmann - 58

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