PARIS, May 26, 2016
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic celebrated another milestone in their impressive careers by winning their second round matches on Thursday at Roland Garros.
The fourth seed from Spain has become the only eighth man in history to win 200 Grand Slam matches, joining Roger Federer (302), Jimmy Connors (232), Andre Agassi (224), Ivan Lendl (222), Roy Emerson (217), Novak Djokovic (216) and Pete Sampra (203). Nadal eased past Facundo Bagnis on court Philippe Chatrier 6-3, 6-0, 6-3. The nine-time French Open champion won 70% of his first service points, hitting 25 winners to finish the encounter in one hour and 44 minutes.
“I even didn’t know this stat. For me the most important thing is a victory in the second round, as that’s only another number, and that’s it. Being able to win in straight sets is good news. I am just looking forward to play the next match,” Nadal said taking on next fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers, who led 6-3, 6-2, 1-0 before Nicolas Mahut was forced to retire.
“I need to keep playing better and better if I want to keep having chances in the next round, but I happy the way I was playing today. Let’s see if I’m able to play the same or a little bit better next.”
Djokovic had to work about 30 minutes longer to celebrate his 50th Roland Garros match win with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Steve Darcis, reaching the third round in Paris for 11th time in a row. The world number one sent down four aces and capitalized on five of his 12 break points to advance after two hours and 17 minutes.
“I’m pleased to get the job done in three sets, but there were things that I definitely didn’t like in my game today. Too many unforced errors from the first or second shot in the rally. But, credit to Steve for playing a lot of variety and mixing up the pace. Very low slice. It’s not easy, because he’s very quick, and he anticipates the play very well,” Djokovic said.
“I would say that all three sets when I was a break up I allowed Steve to come back to those sets and fight for those sets, because I was managing to drop my serve very easily. So hopefully that’s not going to happen in the following rounds. The matches will get tougher, and it’s kind of expected at the beginning that you are a bit rusty on the court, and hopefully things will get better,” the 29-year-old Serbian is looking forward to the next round, taking on Aljaz Bedene, who overcame Pablo Carreno-Busta 7-6, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2 in three hours and 19 minutes.
“We practiced a bit in MonteCarlo and at a couple of other places. We speak the same language, so it’s easy to get around and find good ways to communicate. He’s a good guy. He’s very talented, very quick motion for a first serve,” Djokovic explained and added:
“I’m expecting a tough one, because now it’s third round and slowly we are getting into the second week of the tournament. No easy matches anymore. I know he doesn’t have anything to lose. We might play on center court, one of the two big ones, and I’m sure he will give it all. I’m just hoping I can sustain the pressure that comes from his way and just enjoy my time on the court.”