Djokovic Opens Campaign, Records 60th Match Win At Roland Garros

Serbian star to play Munar in the second round

Novak Djokovic lost the first two games in both the first and second sets on Tuesday against Rogerio Dutra Silva, but experienced no further problems in victory at Roland Garros.

On a sweltering day two in south-west Paris, 2016 champion Djokovic recorded his 60th match win at the Grand Slam championship (60-12) with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the Brazilian qualifier in two hours and five minutes on Philippe-Chatrier Court. It was their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting since the 2012 US Open.

“I'm starting to play better,” said Djokovic. “I feel like, in the past couple of weeks, [I’ve] not been thinking about the elbow [and] playing pain-free, which is the most important thing at the moment… I played enough to win. I think I had some really good moments in the match and some not that great… But it was good for the first match. It was a good test.”

The 31-year-old Djokovic will next challenge World No. 155 Jaume Munar for the first time.

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Djokovic, who last year reached the quarter-finals (l. to Thiem), struck 37 winners — one more than his unforced error count (36) — and came through a wobble towards the end of the third set, having been broken in the eighth game.

Djokovic, the No. 20 seed, his lowest Grand Slam championship seeding since the 2006 US Open, improved to an 11-7 record in 2018, which includes a run to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals (l. to Nadal) – his best result to-date of the season. Shortly after the Australian Open in January, the Serbian underwent a small medical intervention on his elbow.

When asked about his form, Djokovic, reflecting on his clay swing, said, “It was kind of a gradual raise of the level. I feel like I started okay in Monaco and had pretty bad tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid. [I didn’t] play really that well, but Rome was pretty good. It was quite refreshing, to be honest, to play, four matches in a tournament. I will try to take the positives out of there and use it into this tournament.”

Munar recovered from an 0-2 sets deficit and 3-5 in the deciding set to beat his Spanish compatriot, 2013 finalist David Ferrer, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 in four hours and 15 minutes. Former World No. 3 Ferrer, who was competing at Roland Garros for the 16th straight season (44-16), had never before lost in the first round.

The seeded player looming as a potential third-round opponent for Djokovic is Roberto Bautista Agut, who has won two titles this year (Auckland, Dubai). The Spaniard overcame a tough test to oust Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-7(3), 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours, 30 minutes. 

In Australia, Bautista Agut suffered his first opening-round defeat at a Grand Slam since his first major main draw appearance at the 2012 Australian Open. He next faces Colombian Santiago Giraldo, who advanced when Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis retired with a 6-3, 4-3 lead. Bautista Agut has won all three of the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings without dropping a set.

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