Novak Djokovic launched his quest for a record-breaking 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title with a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-1) first-round victory over debutant Aleksandar Kovacevic at the French Open.
The former two-time champion breezed through the first two sets before encountering resistance from the 24-year-old American whose lack of experience then showed in the tie-break on the world’s biggest clay court.
But Djokovic ended the contest with a sizzling service return on his first match point to set up a meeting with Hungarian journeyman Marton Fucsovics.
Djokovic continues first-round winning streak
Novak Djokovic is the second player in the Open Era to win 65 consecutive first-round matches at Grand Slam events (between Roland Garros 2006 and 2023), equalling Roger Federer (between Wimbledon 2003 and 2021).
The third seed has not dropped a set in the opening round at Roland Garros since 2010, so this was a daunting task for Kovacevic, who is of Serbian heritage and idolised Djokovic as a child.
Kovacevic, who first watched Djokovic play at the US Open 18 years ago, made a confident start to his Grand Slam main draw debut, but Djokovic claimed the first break of the match in the sixth game.
Despite a third-set turnaround in which the American rallied from 3-5 to force a tie-break, Djokovic held firm to complete the win in which he converted five of his 12 break points and struck 41 winners.
Djokovic perfect in French Open first-round matches
Novak Djokovic improves to 19-0 in French Open first-round matches. Djokovic hit 10 aces (41 winners overall) and converted 5 of 12 break points en route to his 86th Roland Garros win.
Next: 4-0 H2H vs Marton Fucsovics in 2R.
Fabulous win for Fabio
Veteran Fabio Fognini rolled back the years to take down 10th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-4 6-3 as the Canadian became the first top-10 player in the men’s draw to exit the tournament.
Source : Sky Sports