Novak Djokovic kicks off his French Open 2023 campaign with a dominant win over USA's Aleksandar Kovacevic in the first round on Monday, May 29. The Serbian ace beat Kovacevic in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 at Court Philippe Chatrier and surpassed Rafael Nadal in the big record at French Open.
This was Djokovic record 19th win in the first round at Roland-Garros as he surpassed Rafael Nadal's previous record of 18 wins in the first round at a clay-court major. Djokovic has yet to lose a first-round game in French Open and breaks a tie with Rafael Nadal who also remains unbeaten in the first round.
The world no.3 star is touted favorite to win the second Grand Slam of the year and clinch a record 23rd major as Rafael Nadal misses out on the tournament for the first time since 2004 due to an injury.
The two-time French Open champions praised Jovacevic who impressed in the third set as Djokovic struggled for successful serves. But the Serbian managed to avoid the fourth set by winning the third set 7-6. Djokovic praised Jovacevic's fighting spirit in the last set after the game and also pointed out his own struggles in the last set.
"He played really well, and he was handling himself very good there mentally, hanging in there. I served for the match, he broke me. I mean, credit to him for fighting spirit,” Djokovic said after the game.
“You know, of course I want to dominate whoever I play against regardless of the circumstances and who is across the net, but, you know, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think I played really well and held things under control for two-and-a-half sets, and then lost my serve and things got a little bit on the wrong side for me. But, you know, I managed to hold my nerves and played pretty much a perfect tie-break.”
In another game, the world no.1 Carlos Alcaraz advanced into the second round with a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over Flavio Cobolli from Italy. The Spanish youngster and Djokovic are highly likely to face each other in the semifinal round after Daniil Medvedev earned the second seed with a win in Italian Open 2023.
Meanwhile, Day 2 at Frech Open witnessed two big upsets in the men's singles round. Top-ten-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime and star Austrian Dominic Thiem failed to progress to the second round with disappointing defeats in the first round. Title favorites Casper Rudd, Dominic Thiem, and Alexander Zverev will open their Roland-Garros 2023 campaigns on May 30.