Novak Djokovic has back at his usual level! The Serb made a slow start to the season after skipping the Australian Open, and he experienced an early Monte Carlos loss. The Serb reached the Belgrade final, and he looked much better in Rome, where he claimed the title without losing a set. Mats Wilander praised Novak following his first-round Roland Garros victory, saying the Serb has improved his level significantly since Monte Carlo. Djokovic scored an impressive 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 win over Yoshihito Nishioka in the Roland Garros first match, sealing the deal in an hour and 58 minutes for a place in the second round. The defending champion was too strong on Court Philippe-Chatrier, continuing where he left in Rome and toppling the opponent on serve and return.
Novak saved five out of six break points and grabbed 57% of the return points, turning them into eight breaks from 18 opportunities. Nishioka stayed in touch in the opener before Djokovic shifted into a higher gear in sets two and three to seal the deal in under two hours. Novak defended three break points in the encounter’s first game to avoid an early setback. Yoshihito made a good start and held in game four with a rare ace for 2-2. Djokovic created a break chance in game six and seized it after Nishioka’s double fault to forge a 4-2 advantage. The Japanese saved a set point on serve at 2-5 to reduce the deficit before the Serb closed the opener with a hold at 15 after a service winner for 6-3 in 50 minutes.
Novak Djokovic made a strong start at Roland Garros.
With a boost on his side, Novak broke his rival three times in the second set and opened a 5-0 gap with a deep return. Nishioka pulled one break back in game six after Djokovic’s forehand drive-volley mistake. Novak remained perfect on the return in this part of the match and grabbed it after the rival’s drop shot error in game seven for 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 26 minutes. Djokovic missed a bagel in the second set, but he delivered it in the third following another rock-solid performance in every department. He toppled Nishioka in half an hour to seal the deal and advance into the second round.
“You can see Novak is getting more intelligent, playing tactically more correct depending on his age; I think he is looking really good. I can not believe he is playing at this level after what I saw in Monte Carlo against Davidovich Fokina; he has made incredible progress. Novak will play many big matches at night. I do not think it matters to him as much as Nadal,” Mats Wilander said.