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Rain Delays French Open, But Djokovic Shines on Day Three

Paris, May 29, 2024, The Europe Today: Persistent rain dampened the third day of the French Open, but defending champion Novak Djokovic remained unfazed as he commenced his quest for a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title with a solid victory on Tuesday.

The day was marked by delays, with action on the outside courts coming to a halt until 4 pm due to the rain. Spectators, clad in winter jackets, and players, confined to their locker rooms, faced a long wait for the day’s proceedings to begin. Play was only possible under the retractable roofs of Court Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen, allowing for some progress in the tournament.

In the evening, top seed Djokovic took to the court against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Despite some concerns about his form following a lackluster season where he failed to reach a final, Djokovic delivered a business-like performance. He overcame a dip in the second set to secure a straight-set victory, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4, showcasing moments of scintillating tennis.

“It’s a straight-set win. In the moments when it mattered, I think I delivered, played a great tiebreak, stayed focused,” Djokovic said, reflecting on his 20-0 first-round record at Roland Garros. “I’m glad that I started the way I started, the way I felt on the court. Comparing to the previous weeks of tournaments I played, I felt good. So I’m moving in a positive direction.”

Earlier in the day, despite the grey and wet conditions, Casper Ruud and Aryna Sabalenka provided some bright spots with their impressive first-round victories. Ruud, a two-time runner-up, swept aside Brazilian qualifier Felipe Alves 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. High on confidence following his title win in Geneva, Ruud showcased a masterclass in serving, completing the match in under two hours.

“This is one of the biggest tournaments for me and everyone every year. One of my highlights. I’m always looking forward to it. The last two years have given me so much here,” Ruud commented. “I hope I can make it another good year.”

World number two Sabalenka, aiming for her second major of the season after her Australian Open victory in January, quickly dispatched Russian teenager Erika Andreeva 6-1, 6-2 in just 68 minutes.

Denmark’s 13th seed Holger Rune also impressed, bringing his usual flair to the court as he defeated Britain’s Dan Evans in straight sets. In contrast, French favorite Alize Cornet bid farewell to her career with a heavy loss to seventh seed Zheng Qinwen.

Despite the slow start to the day, the action eventually picked up, with some of the backlog cleared later in the evening. As the tournament progresses, fans and players alike hope for clearer skies and uninterrupted matches.