French Open 2017: Djokovic wins first match in front of new coach Agassi

French Open 2017: Djokovic wins first match in front of new coach Agassi

The world number two beat Spaniard Marcel Granollers in straight sets.

joseph-nicholson
Joe Nicholson

He may have a new coach but Novak Djokovic still appeared a little perturbed as he began the defence of his French Open title on Monday.

Djokovic, who split with his entire coaching team earlier this month, won his first match in front of new mentor Andre Agassi on the Philippe Chatrier Court.

The world number two eventually ground down Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-4 6-2 but made 29 unforced errors in a match which lasted 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Despite the comfortable score line, Djokovic was unable to hide his frustration as he lost his serve four times and failed to convert 12 break points.

Even so, Granollers, a solid baseliner without significant weapons to trouble the top players, was rarely able to apply substantial scoreboard pressure.

Djokovic will now face Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round.

Agassi partnership is what I need says Djokovic 

“It was a bit of a rusty start,” the Serb admitted.

“At a set and 4-1 up, I just played a couple of sloppish games. And in the third set when I had him on the ropes, I played very bad games on my serve,” he added.

On Agassi, Djokovic said: “I'm going to try to use the time spent with him as best as I can. So far there is plenty of information to process.

"This is exactly what I need at this moment, a person like him that understands the transitions as a tennis player and as a person, going through this lifestyle and certain choices that you make, how that affects you later on.”

Granollers unable to hurt the world number two

Against Granollers, three of the first four games went against serve before Djokovic eventually clinched the momentum, winning a 38-shot rally to take a 3-1 lead.

After that the Spaniard was always playing catch-up and despite some lengthy and entertaining rallies, Djokovic always appeared in control.

The Serb raced into a 4-1 lead, with a double break, at the start of the second set, however a couple of lose games from the world number two gave Granollers hope.

After winning one of the breaks back, the Spaniard saved eight set points before holding serve at 3-5.

In the next game, Djokovic won a decisive backhand rally at 30-30 before letting out a huge roar of elation.

The Serb sealed a two-set lead on the next point and, after pitching an early break in the third, he quickly raced to victory.

Nadal on track for tenth title in Paris

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal began his quest for a tenth French Open title by beating Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1 6-4 6-1.

There were also victories for fifth seed Milos Raonic and Croatian Marin Cilic, while Alexander Zverev and Fernando Verdasco were stopped due to bad light at one set all and will have to finish their match on Tuesday.

The biggest shock of the day came on court 14, as 14th seed Jack Sock lost to Czech Jiri Vesely 7-5 7-5 6-3.

On the women’s side, defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza and second seed Karolina Pliskova both progressed.

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