Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his first round match against Sweden's Mikael Ymer at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, September 29 2020. Picture: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his first round match against Sweden's Mikael Ymer at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, September 29 2020. Picture: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES

Paris

Novak Djokovic got his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title back on track as he began his French Open campaign with a drama-free 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory over Mikael Ymer on Tuesday.

Just a little more than three weeks since Djokovic was defaulted in the US Open fourth round for hitting a line judge with a ball, the Serb was as cool as a cucumber as he outclassed the young Swede.

Only a few were in the Philippe Chatrier Court as Djokovic won the opening set in 20 minutes. Djokovic did drop serve early in the second set when an attempted drop shot fell short. But there was no angry response this time, just an ironic chuckle.

The 33-year-old then led the applause for Ymer when he played a sensational between-the-legs winner Nick Kyrgios would have been proud of in the sixth game. But it was one-way traffic as Djokovic polished off the second set with his trademark clean hitting.

The 80th-ranked Ymer, facing a world No 1 for the first time, stuck manfully to his task in the third set and Djokovic became a little sloppy as he handed back a service break with a double-fault after which he flexed his hand.

Top seed Djokovic, bidding for a second French Open title, glared at someone in the crowd in the next game and refocused to reel off the last three games for victory.

The Serbian is aiming to become the first man in the Open Era — and third overall after Roy Emerson and Rod Laver — to win all four Majors twice.

Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to appear in the main draw of a Grand Slam when she faced former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova but did not look intimidated and left the French Open sure that she belongs at this level.

The battling 24-year-old took the opening set against the second-seeded Czech before losing 6-7 (9) 6-2 6-4 in a contest lasting 2hr 15 min on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“I don’t think I played my best. I think I could have done so many things much better,” said Sherif, whose $69,000 cheque was more than half of her career prize money.

“But you know what? I’m out of here very positive, very excited to work harder, because I saw what the level is and I saw not playing my best how close I was to beating one of the best players in the world. So just keep working harder.” Reuters

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