Nole eases into second round of Roland Garros

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2011 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic begun his Roland Garros campaign with 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 victory over world no.71 Dutch Thiemo de Bakker in 92 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday.

Novak made a break in the second game of the opening set and eased through another comfortable service hold. The 24-year-old Belgrade native broke de Bakker’s serve once again in the eighth game to seal the opening set in 29 minutes.

The Serb looked supremely confident and comfortable out on court and De Bakker could do little to upset his rhythm. Djokovic broke the Dutch in the second and fourth games of the second set and held to consolidate the breaks for 5-0 lead. Nole faced the only break point in the match serving for the set at 5-1, but de Bakker just missed his forehand wide down the line and Novak took the set 6-1 when the Dutchman hit a forehand return into the net.

The world no.2 broke his opponent’s serve in the first game of the third set when de Bakker hit a forehand shot into the net to concede his serve. A backhand winner down the line brought up three break/match points for Nole in the ninth game. He wasted the first two, but got it at the third attempt to win the set and match 6-3.

“It was a great first match for me at Roland Garros,” said Novak who celebrated his 24th birthday at the Serbian embassy on Sunday.

“I was serving really, really well and being very aggressive, using every opportunity to step into the court. I was quite in control of the match.”

Match statistics: aces (0-5), double faults (2-3), winners (25-19), unforced errors (19-34), total points won (87-52).

Nole has now won 38 consecutive matches this year, he increased his overall winning streak to 40 wins in a row dating back to last December’s Davis Cup final.

“Pressure is always there, over the years you learn how to deal with it. I know there is a lot of expectation because of the streak I have but I’m really happy the way I’m handling things right now on and off the court.”

“I’ve been playing really well on clay. I’ve won three (claycourt) tournaments in the last few weeks, so I’m trying to build on that confidence,” added Nole.

The no. 2 seed will meet Victor Hanescu in the second round. The Romanian beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4).

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