PARIS (Agencies): Another German qualifier named Yannick, another easy win for Rafael Nadal.
Chasing a record-extending 12th title at the French Open, Nadal posted a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Yannick Maden on Wednesday to reach the third round of the clay-court Grand Slam. Nadal lost only six games in the first round against Yannick Hanfmann. He was on the verge of doing even better on Wednesday but lost focus briefly in the third set and dropped his serve twice.
“That’s just about concentration,” Nadal said. “Because the feeling on the match has been positive. Positive thing is, every time that I (made) the mistake, then I had the break again, and that’s the good news.” In the next round, Nadal will be up against 27th-seeded David Goffin.
Sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas also advanced, making it to the third round at Roland Garros for the first time. The Greek player overcame a slow start to beat Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5. Also, seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori rallied to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
In the women’s draw, former champion Garbine Muguruza and last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens both posted straight-set wins to progress to the third round. On a sunny morning in the French capital, Muguruza beat Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Seeded 19th this year, Muguruza won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 when she upset Serena Williams in the final. The Spanish player is expected to face tougher opposition in her next match against ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who progressed to the third round without hitting a shot. Svitolina was set to play 67th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova but organizers said the Ukrainian player withdrew with a virus.
Stephens, who lost to Simona Halep in last year’s final, needed a bit more time to defeat gritty but error-prone Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 7-6 (3). In a match that featured 11 breaks of serve, Stephens could not hold on to a 3-0 lead in the second set and Sorribes Tormo twice had the opportunity to level at 1-set apiece on her serve. A turning point came in the 11th game when the 22-year-old Spaniard hit two consecutive double-faults to drop serve. The seventh-seeded Stephens hit a series of winners in the tiebreaker and sealed the match with a backhand down the line. “Just decided to keep it exciting, to play a bit longer on that court,” Stephens joked. “I missed it from last year.”
Later, Roger Federer was facing 144th-ranked Oscar Otte. Federer is playing at Roland Garros after a four-year absence.