It was not the most shattering of introductions, but Rafael Nadal negotiated firmly and without too much trouble his first round at Roland Garros. Thirteen times winner and quadruple defending champion, the Mallorcan dismissed the threat Alexei Popyrin (62nd worldwide) in three sets this Tuesday on the Philippe-Chartrier court (6-3, 6-2, 7-6 ).
In a nice and very peaceful atmosphere on the Central, the Spaniard was first in a fight over the first seven games of the match, before Alexei Popyrin showed a guilty generosity, “offering” almost his service. on a too soft backhand volley, then a slice on the next point to give up his serve at 4-3, and the set in stride.
Nadal had got his hands on it and he would then completely dominate the second act, posing as a boss on the court, thanks in particular to two-three defensive “specialties” which seriously cooled the young Australian’s impulses.
Popyrin, the arm that trembles on the two set balls
But Nadal was still going to be a little scared in the third set, when the Australian broke him, to lead 5-2. Popyrin even offered himself two set points at 5-3, but his arm trembled at the worst possible moment for the Australian who committed a double fault on his first set point, before smashing the second, allowing the n ° 3 worldwide to pick up and send the round to the tie-break. A decisive game that Nadal would totally dominate, thus avoiding an extended match (6-3, 6-2, 7-6 ).