Flawless Nadal races into French Open second round

Tue May 24, 2016 11:02am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - There were glimpses of the vintage Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard started his quest for a record-breaking 10th French Open title in merciless fashion, demolishing Australian Sam Groth 6-1 6-1 6-1 on Tuesday.

The fourth seed, who will play either Argentine Facundo Bagnis or French qualifier Kenny de Schepper in the second round, played flawless tennis, making only three unforced errors in a one-sided match.

Nadal, who turns 30 next week, has won two titles on clay this season, including the Monte Carlo Masters.

He ended his opponent's misery with a trademark crosscourt forehand winner on his second match point on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

"It's obvious that was a good start for me. The most important thing I had to do today was to return well and then I was playing with not many mistakes," Nadal, who his first French Open title in 2005, told a news conference.

"I think it's obvious that the opponent plays better on faster surfaces."

While he served 10 aces, Groth also made nine double faults as he failed to unsettle a rock-solid Nadal under threatening skies.

Nadal used his usual powerful top-spin to overwhelm his opponent who did not get a single break point.   Continued...

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros -  Rafael Nadal of Spain vs Sam Groth of Australia Paris, France - 24/05/16. Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball.  REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes