Novak Djokovic has made a blistering start to his French Open campaign, however his first round match at Roland Garros wasn’t without a touch of controversy.
The World No.1 got his quest for an 18th grand slam title back on track as he commenced his French Open campaign with a 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory over Mikael Ymer on Tuesday.
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A little over 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 smattering of fans were inside Philippe Chatrier Court as Djokovic won the opening set in just 20 minutes before cruising to victory.
However the smaller crowd meant the players were able to hear fans talking in the stands - or in Djokovic’s case, heckling.
During the third set, Djokovic appeared to be heckled by a spectator wearing a Roger Federer hat after he lost a point.
The World No.1 shot a prolonged angry glare at the spectator before blowing him a kiss.
However he shrugged off the incident after the match.
“No, that’s my childhood friend,” Djokovic joked.
“I sent him a kiss after I won the game. It was very nice to see him.”
Djokovic's relationship with Federer fans in crowds continues to be a hate story for the ages https://t.co/2IktySalzk— Matthew Willis (@MattRacquet) September 29, 2020
Novak Djokovic cruises into second round
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.
But the top seed re-focused to reel off the last three games for victory.
“It felt like when a snake kills its prey,” Ymer, 23, conceded.
“He hits it pretty big. I had chances to rally but then I got suffocated. It was corner to corner and he rarely misses.
“At the beginning, it was just surreal. The court felt big and I was nervous because I was facing the best on the other side.”
Meanwhile, Djokovic insisted his New York disqualification was definitely a thing of the past.
In the immediate aftermath of his US Open retreat, he went to Rome where he captured a record 36th Masters title.
“I have not had any traces of New York in my mind. I'm over it,” he said.
Tsitsipas and Rublev survive big scares
Elsehwhere, World No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a huge scare as he fought back from two-sets down to defeat Jaume Munar 4-6 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.
No.13 seed Andrey Rublev also recovered from two-sets down to beat American Sam Querrey.
The Russian, who won the final of the Hamburg Open on Sunday, came through 6-7 (7-5) 6-7 (7-4) 7-5 6-4 6-3 in a match which lasted almost three-and-a-half hours.
Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3, Chile’s Christian Garin, seeded No. 20, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 4-6 6-1 6-4 and Australian Marc Polmans ended the hopes of home player Ugo Humbert with a 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3 win.
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