Rafael Nadal begins quest for 12th French Open title with routine win

Rafael Nadal kicked off his quest for a 12th French Open title with a routine win over Yannick Hanfmann. Nadal, as expected, did win in straight sets. But the German qualifier didn’t completely roll over, particularly considering it was his first appearance at Roland Garros.

It couldn’t have been a larger gap in Grand Slam experience between the world’s No. 2 and 180. Nadal is targetting an 18th major win during this fortnight.

There’s a sense that only two men could really stop the ‘King of Clay’ but both Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem are in the opposite half of the draw.

In truth, it’s hard to see Nadal being seriously tested by anyone before the final.

Hanfmann had four break points in the opening game and didn’t look fazed by the occasion, but that was about as good as it got in a one-sided 6-2 6-1 6-3 win in just under two hours.

The German did force Nadal into a rare slip on the clay, but the Spaniard picked himself up, dusted himself down and went on to secure victory.

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