Even in diesel mode, the world number one remains untouchable for most of his opponents. For his big debut in this 2022 edition, Monday May 23, Novak Djokovic gradually gained strength against Yoshihito Nishioka to win in three sets (6-3, 6-1, 6-0) and 1h58 of play.
Not really comfortable in long exchanges, the Serb relied on his quality of service to start the defense of his title as it should. After Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday, and Rafael Nadal on Monday afternoon, the third favorite avoided the air pocket against a pesky but never sharp Japanese.
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) May 23, 2022
On paper, a world separates Djokovic and Nishioka, i.e.he defending champion against a player who has never passed the second round at Roland-Garros, 87 titles on the ATP circuit to just one… However, if at the finish, with regard to the score, the gap between Novak Djokovic and Yoshihito Nishioka are striking, the start of the match clearly deluded.
For almost ten minutes, “Nole” fought to win his first service game, having to save three break points before finally taking the lead (1-0). Embarrassed by the very rounded strikes of the Japanese, the Serb was late in the ignition, chaining winning shots and unforced errors. It didn’t take long, only the third game of the match, to see the world number one let out a cry of relief, at 2-1.
Very mobile and aggressive, Nishioka ended up overconfident by attempting an ace on the T on the second ball at 30-40, a failed attempt giving the first break of the game to “Djoker” (4-2). Behind, the quality of service of the world number one made the difference, not without leaving a taste of minimum service against an enterprising Japanese but far from being unplayable.
The rest of the game was one-sided. Nishioka started to thwart while Djokovic returned more winners (35 against 17 on the whole match). His new cries at 2-0 in the second set did not really please the public, a little taken aback by such a reaction at this time of the match. Proof that the love-hate relationship with the stands is far from over. Once his match won, the Serb tried to catch up by answering questions, on the court, from Mats Wilander.
“I’m very happy to be back here. I hope today you had fun with my quality of tennis”Novak Djokovic
after his victory against Yoshihito Nishioka
Still, the essential is there for the Serb, who has not lost a single set in the first round of Roland-Garros since 2010 (against Evgeny Korolev). The double winner Porte d’Auteuil (2016 and 2021) qualified for the second round and, for now, that’s all that matters.
— Prime Video Sport France (@PVSportFR) May 23, 2022