French Open: Nadal, Serena to play their second round

Paris: World number one Rafael Nadal will look to continue his rich vein of form when he squares off with Guido Pella of Argentina in the second round of the men’s singles event of the French Open here on Thursday.

Earlier, Nadal kicked off his campaign at the Roland Garros with a convincing 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (11-9) win over Simone Bolelli of Italy in a rain-delayed opening-round clash of the second major of the season.

The Spanish tennis maestro, who is bidding to clinch his 11th French Open trophy, will match Margaret Court’s all-time record for most singles titles at the same Grand Slam event if he lifts the title again.

Pella, on the other hand, eased past Portugal player Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to storm into the second round at the Roland Garros.

It should be noted that top-ranked Nadal has not lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as world number 78 Pella since his defeat to No. 102 Dustin Brown of Germany in the second round of 2015 Wimbledon.

Elsewhere, fifth-seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina will lock horns with Julien Benneteau of France in another second-round clash, while third-seed Marin Cilic of Croatia will also take on Polish star Hubert Hurkacz later today.

In the women’s singles event, top-seed Simona Halep, who bounced back from her set down to register a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over America’s Alison Riske in her delayed opening-round yesterday, will face America’s Taylor Townsend for a place in last-32.

Meanwhile, American tennis star Serena Williams will take on 17th seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the second round.

The former world number one had earlier made a successful return to the French Open by defeating Kristyna Pliskova of Czech Republic 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.