The two French Open finalists of 2008, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, dominated their opponents on the central court on Monday, both winning their first-round matches in straight sets.
In their first matches of the French Open, Rafael Nadal, winner of the last four championships at Roland Garros, established his authority through the force of his character, and Roger Federer, who has made the finals of the last three French Opens, asserted himself with style.
Nadal’s first set against Marcos Daniel was played out on a razor’s edge, with Nadal winning 7-5. But as soon as the fifth game of the second set began, the Spaniard sounded the charge against the Brazilian to turn the set around, then hold the momentum to go on to win the match 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. He made the comeback from behind in the second set by his strength of mind and the force of his wrist, recognisable from the sound of his strokes resonating inside the Philippe-Chatrier court.
"I was expecting a tightly contested match," said Nadal, the world number one player. "I did not necessarily start at my best level. It was already like that the previous four years. The most important thing is to go on back on the court trying to win. I won in three sets. I hope to continue to improve myself in the next match."
A few minutes after this declaration, Roger Federer, whom Nadal defeated in the 2008 French Open final, was wrapping up his match against another Spaniard, Alberto Martin (6-4, 6-4, 6-1). Unlike Nadal, Federer dominated his first round match from start to finish.
During the press conference, Federer’s smile could not hide his satisfaction. "I started a little slowly," said the man from Basel, "but afterwards, I think I reacted well. I had control of the match."
The second round promises to be easy for the two men, but both know that they will have to sharpen their game level as the competition gets tougher.
Date created : 2009-05-25