Millennium Post

Roland Garros: Nadal crush Bolelli in first round

Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal bidding for a record seventh Roland Garros crown, sped into the second round at the French Open on Tuesday with a straight sets win over Italian Simone Bolelli.

Nadal, out to surpass Swedish legend Bjorn Borg  with whom he shares six titles in Paris, survived a momentary second set blip to sweep past his 111th-ranked rival 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 and take their series to 3-0 in the champion's favour.

The 25-year-old Mallorcan, looking to join Borg and Rod Layer in 11 Grand Slam singles titles, won in 1hr 58min as he raced into a meeting with either Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan or Russian Igor Kunitsyn.

Nadal was imperiousness personified from the start on the Phillipe Chatrier showcourt as he broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set which he promptly polished off in 35 minutes.

The red-clad favourite raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set before his form suffered a minor aberration as he double faulted to drop serve and then had to save a trio of break points to stop Bolelli closing the gap to 4-3 before moving two sets clear after 1hr 24min on court.

Having found his range once more Nadal - only ever beaten once at the venue on seven previous visits, when creaking knees presaged a fourth-round loss to Sweden's James Soderling in 2009 - waltzed 3-0 clear in the third.

Bolelli was unable to stem the tide as his rival broke for a 5-1 lead and Nadal inevitably held to take the match and lift his incredible record at the venue to 46-1 as he goes after his fourth clay title of the year.
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