French Open: Nadal edges past Gerasimov 
Nadal in first round action/Photo credit: TPN

This is the first time Egor Gerasimov has qualified for the French Open, and with the world no 83 facing 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, it is not exactly the kindest of draws for the Belarusian. 

Clay isn't Gerasimov's favourite surface having recently lost in Rome qualifying, the world no 83 has however beaten David Goffin earlier on in the year in Marseille 6-4, 7-6. 

Nadal is currently ranked 5th in the world rankings, and recently lost to Argentine Diego Schwartzman at the Rome Masters 6-2, 7-5. The Spaniard will be hoping to once again reclaim the King of Clay nickname by winning Roland Garros again this year. 

This will be the first time Nadal will face Gerasimov in any tour meeting. 

Nadal in charge 

Like many times in the past at Roland Garros Nadal has punished opponents on the clay surface. Despite an early fight put up from the Belarus player,  Nadal snuffed out any momentum gained with an early break at 3-2. 

It didn't get any easier for Gerasimov with no room allowed from Nadal in the first set, Nadal picked up the intensity to hold serve and claim the first set 6-4 in 41 minutes. 

It was a pretty routinal set for Nadal, who had some problems presented to him from Gerasimov who was trying to play aggressive attacking tennis, especially on his own service games. 

As far as first set statistics go both players hit an even amount of winners with 8 each, but Nadals' percentage on first service points won proved crucial on 82% compared to Gerasimov on 73%.

No way in for Gerasimov 

Despite the 27-year-olds best efforts, Nadal broke early in the second set to take a 2-1 lead with his trademark forehand punishing Gerasimov. 

However, even with the break, Gerasimov's spirit didn't seem to dampen with an ace immediately to go 15-0 up, the next point Nadal took control with a rather stylish volley to take it back to 15-15. The Belarusian's crisp serving ensured it was a vital hold with Nadal not quite running away with this first-round tie just yet. 

Nadal was still holding on to that one break of serve, the world no 5 found it hard going breaking the Belarusian's serve, which has remained pretty consistent throughout this encounter. 

For someone of Gerasimov's frame being 6 ft 5, his defensive work was sublime keeping Nadal at bay on service games. Gerasimov hit a peach of a backhand to go 30-15 up. It makes you wonder if it wasn't a 12-time French Open champion standing on the other side of the court if the 27-year-old would have had more luck, he quickly held his service game, Nadal still 5-4 up. 

Nadal powers through 

Despite a break on Nadal's serve from Gerasimov, it takes some doing to outmanoeuvre Rafael Nadal on the clay surface, Nadal immediately broke back to break the deficit. 

Despite some resistance from Gerasimov, once again Nadal broke the Belarusian's serve to gain a 3-2 lead, the next game was a comfortable service hold for the Spaniard who raced into a 5-2 lead. 

Nadal soon closed up shop which took the match to just over 2 hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Gerasimov at times looked like would he would trouble the second seed but with the trainer called out in the third set due to a rolled ankle 6-4, 6-4, 2-2 it was never in doubt that Nadal would get the job done.

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