Djokovic defeats wildcard Herbert in French Open first round

Defending champion Novak Djokovic shrugged off his recent troubles to sweep to his 93rd career win at the French Open on Tuesday, extending his run of first round Roland Garros victories to a perfect 20.

Djokovic, chasing a fourth title in Paris and record 25th Grand Slam triumph, came through against 142nd-ranked French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

The 37-year-old, who saw career-long rival and 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal exit the tournament on Monday, had arrived under a cloud.

For the first time since 2018, he is without a title and has yet to reach a final this season.

He has also endured recent misfortunes, being accidentally hit on the head by a metal water bottle in Rome and then suffering stomach problems in Geneva.

Djokovic has advanced to the French Open quarter-finals or better every year since 2010.

He will face Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena for a place in the last 32.

Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, a semi-finalist in 2023, over-powered Russian teenager Erika Andreeva 6-1, 6-2 in just 68 minutes under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier as heavy rain caused a five-hour delay to action around the grounds.

'Tough conditions'

World number two Sabalenka fired 27 winners past the 100th-ranked Andreeva and broke serve five times in a dominant display.

"I'm trying to do well on clay, it is tough conditions here but I enjoy playing here and I'm just trying to bring my best tennis every time – whatever the surface," said Sabalenka.


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