Nadal gets relatively easy start to Roland Garros

Nadal gets relatively easy start to Roland Garros”

Rafael Nadal insists it would be no less special to claim yet another French Open title with Roger Federer absent from Roland Garros. 23-time major victor and three-time French Open titlist Serena Williams (+1000) can never be counted out, even if she's unseeded and hasn't played a match on clay since before she gave birth.

What of Russian former champion Maria Sharapova, playing at her first French Open since returning from a doping ban. "Serena can achieve anything - after being her coach for six years, I'm even more sure of that statement".

Djokovic was ostensibly back to his best when he met Nadal in the semis and needed a sparkling tie-break performance from the Spaniard to make it through to the finals.

Rosewall beat compatriot Rod Laver in four sets to win his second French Open title, 15 years after his first, though his preparation for his return to the grand slam arena was not quite textbook.

Resuming the match on Tuesday after a thunderstorm ended the previous night's play early in the third set, Nadal was forced to an entertaining tiebreak to wrap up a hard-fought French Open first round encounter.

- Azarenka, Sharapova and Serena Williams will be lining up in a Grand Slam together for the first time since the 2016 Australian Open.

World No 1 Simona Halep is the favourite to win the honour, while Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are also tipped for success. After taking half of last year off, then struggling a lot so far this year, Djokovic looked a lot closer to himself in Rome, where he competed well before losing to Nadal in their 51st career matchup.

There's also Dominic Thiem, many people's dark horse.

French Open 2018 round 1 will start from Sunday (May 27).

Paris - Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov will continue his recent rise with his first French Open appearance next week, but insists winning the title at such a young age is "impossible".

Later in the evening, second-seeded and a probable champion Alexandre Zverev in action against Ricardas Berankis. In Rome I had plenty of these moments. "I don't think that there was too much of a difference", Djokovic said after that setback, "which is great for me, great news for me".

Wawrinka, also the runner-up to Nadal past year, has only this week returned after three months on the sidelines having undergone knee surgery.

"We haven't had someone really prepared and determined to do something at Roland Garros - to say it is one thing, to actually do it is another", Leconte told AFP this year. But The 21-year old arrives in the French capital as an underdog with great form and a game well suited to clay, so if he can hold his nerve he can pose some serious threats to the big boys in the competition.

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