French Open: Djokovic, Nadal, Unleash Storm in Paris

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Novak Djokovic began the defence of his French Open title by easing to victory under the gaze of new coach Andre Agassi while Rafael Nadal launched his pursuit of a record 10th French Open title in brutal fashion Monday.

Nadal, who was battling injuries and form in the tournament a year ago, dismantled 45th-ranked Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in less than two hours in continuation of his sensational form on clay this season.

In a completely dominant performance, Nadal broke the Frenchman eight times to surge into a round two meeting with Dutchman Robin Haase.

“I’m very happy to be back here after what happened last year. It’s great to feel the support,” said the 14-time major winner.

Defending champion Djokovic breezed through his opener against Marcel Granollers of Spain with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

It was his first game under new coach and 1999 French Open champion Agassi as the Serb world no 2, broken four times by the world no 77, looks to halt a wretched run of form since lifting the trophy in Paris last year.

“It’s great to have Andre Agassi as coach and as a mentor. I will try to learn as much as I can from him,” said Djokovic, who next takes on Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic fired 15 aces and 44 winners in a routine 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Steve Darcis of Belgium to set up a second round tie against Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva.

David Ferrer, the 2013 runner-up, outlasted American Donald Young in a four-and-a-half-hour shootout, prevailing 13-11 in the final set, while Former US Open champion Marin Cilic and Belgian 10th seed David Goffin also progressed.

Meanwhile, reigning women’s champion Garbine Muguruza put aside her middling for this season to begin her Roland Garros defence with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 2010 winner Francesca Schiavone.

Emmanuel Offor

An avid sports fan who is also hooked on movies, music and books. Basically, I PLAYpen & PUNCHlines

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