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French Open: Rain, but no pain for Nadal, Djokovic and Sharapova

Tennis aces enjoy straight-set Round 1 wins at Roland Garros on a day marred by rain

Paris: Defending champion Rafael Nadal stormed to his 60th win at the French Open yesterday, shrugging off the controversy over his demotion from Roland Garros' showpiece court.

Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Robby Ginepri. Pics/AFP
Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Robby Ginepri. Pics/AFP 

The World No 1 cruised to a 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 win over US wildcard Robby Ginepri, the World No 279.

Nadal kicked off his campaign for a ninth French Open title on the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court while title rival Novak Djokovic and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka were handed top billing on the main Philippe Chatrier Arena.

Nadal had criticised the state of the newly-laid clay on Chatrier after a practice session.

Novak's new friend
Meanwhile on cente court , Serbia's second seed Novak Djokovic opened his bid for a maiden French Open title yesterday with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 first round win over Joao Sousa.

Novak Djokovic has some fun as his match is interrupted by rain
Novak Djokovic has some fun as his match is interrupted by rain  

During a match interrupted by rain, the 27-year-old Belgrade native was at his charismatic best on and off the court as he even had time to chat extensively with a ball boy during a brief rain delay.

He offered the young lad a drink and clinked bottles with him as the crowd roared their approval.

On the court, Sousa, ranked 42 in the world and a French Open best of reaching the second round last year, was outclassed by Djokovic's all round game.

Maria in Round 2
In the women's event, Maria Sharapova reached the French Open second round at a damp and chilly Roland Garros as Japanese hope Kei Nishikori became the tournament's first major casualty.

Maria Sharapova in action yesterday
Maria Sharapova in action yesterday 

Sharapova, seeded seven and the 2012 champion, needed just over an hour to beat fellow Russian, Ksenia Pervak, the world's 156th-ranked player, 6-1, 6-2.

Nishikori dumped out
Japanese ninth seed Nishikori was left feeling as miserable as the Paris weather as he crashed out in the first round, clearly still suffering from his recent back injury.

8
Number of aces Djokovic rained down on his hapless opponent yesterday

Congratulations, Nicolas!

Nicolas Mahut was congratulated on losing his first round match at the French Open by a reporter. Mahut, knocked out by Mikhail Kukushkin, then faced the press where the first question was from an English-speaking journalist who offered his congratulations.

A stunned Mahut hit back: "Congratulations? I lost." Reporter: "You lost? Okay. So what happened out there?" Mahut, 32, responded: "Are you serious? Did you watch the match?" which yielded a grovelling apology from the media man. "No, I didn't. I was told that you won. I'm sorry." A frustrated Mahut fired back: "Questions in French, please."

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