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Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning against Australia's Jordan Thompson in three sets during their first round match at the French Open in Roland Garros in Paris on Monday. Image Credit: AP

Paris: Rafael Nadal showed no signs of pain as the 13-time French Open champion marched into the second round at Roland Garros with clinical 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Australian Jordan Thompson on Monday.

The Spaniard, who had never arrived in Paris as unprepared as this year after a rib injury and a chronic foot problem hampered the build-up to his beloved Grand Slam tournament, was never bothered on a chilly court Philippe Chatrier.

“It’s incredible for me to play here again on Chatrier. I’m happy with this win. First round is always special,” said Nadal, who now has 106 wins at Roland Garros — more than any other male player at a single Grand Slam.

Positive start

“It is a good start, of course, straight sets. That’s it. I mean, I played good for a while. Then things that I could do better and I need to do better. But it is a positive start, and that gives me a chance to have one more day on practice tomorrow and then another chance the day after tomorrow.”

The 35-year-old, who has a record 21 men’s Grand Slam titles to his name, played down the chances of adding to his tally but his display was reminiscent of those of previous years. Nadal broke for 2-1 with a backhand volley winner and his massive forehand helped him quickly move 4-1 up against an overwhelmed opponent.

Keeping record intact

The fifth seed looked to finish off some points quickly and made several unusual unforced errors, but they were of little consequence as he breezed through the opening set. Nadal broke serve in the first game of the second set and again in the fifth and seventh as he started to play more neatly, bagging it with a service winner.

Thompson, who pulled a break back, looked worn out by then but held it together until 2-2, when Nadal broke with a forehand volley and won the rest of the games for his 299th victory at a major, having never lost in the first round here in 18 entries.

Wawrinka crashes out

Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka crashed out in the first round to Frenchman Corentin Moutet in his first Grand Slam appearance in 18 months.

The 37-year-old Swiss, who did not play for a year after suffering a foot injury early in 2021 and having surgery twice, paid the price for a lack of match practice with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 loss in just under three hours.

“I started well and it was a good first set but unfortunately it was disappointing to lose,” Wawrinka told a news conference.

“Unfortunately, this is the reality of how I play at the moment. I need training, a lot of work. I am playing well but not at the level for matches like that. This is the reality unfortunately of where I am.”

Wawrinka had only returned to action at a Challenger Tour tournament in March, yet it all started well for the Swiss, the winner in Paris in 2015.

Stunning forehand

He showed no lingering effects from his injury when he had to stretch in a full sprint to whip a stunning forehand down the line to earn a quick early break and go 3-1 up in the first set.

Two consecutive double faults by wildcard Moutet handed the first set to Wawrinka but the tables were turned with the Frenchman bagging the second set after mixing it up and charging to the net more often.

Moutet broke the Swiss again to take the lead in the third as Wawrinka’s first serve faltered and unforced errors began to rise.

“The frustration does not come from a comparison of my past level but because I know I could have done more and that some things did not go well,” Wawrinka said.

Moutet wasted two set points at 5-2 and survived a brief Wawrinka comeback before clinching the third comfortably in the tiebreak and racing through the fourth to book a spot in the second round.