BEVERLEY’S Kyle Edmund roared into the second round of the French Open as he brushed aside Australian youngster Alex De Minaur.
British No 1 Edmund, looking to build on his stunning run to the Australian Open semi-final in January, overpowered his 19-year-old opponent and dispatched him in straight sets.
He broke serve in the first game of the match, took the opening set in just half an hour and went on to wrap up a fine 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory.
“I played pretty well. I was just waiting to get going, anticipating, wanting to execute my game well,” added Edmund.
“Once you get on it, it’s good to really execute it well, especially against a guy like Alex where it can get quite tough easily if you don’t play well.
“So I was pleased with how I managed my game. I did the controllables really well in terms of my game and serving well and when I am on the front foot, not laying back on the point.”
Once you get on it, it’s good to really execute it well, especially against a guy like Alex where it can get quite tough easily if you don’t play well.Kyle Edmund
It was an impressive display against a potentially tricky opponent and bodes well for another run deep into a grand slam for Edmund.
De Minaur is a highly-rated player and deceptively powerful despite his small frame.
But Edmund, now looking every inch a world top-20 player, landed the first blow and then never let up.
The early break set the tone, while another in the fifth game of the second set, after De Minaur pushed a forehand wide, prompted the youngster to take a ball from his pocket and smash it out of Court Three in frustration.
De Minaur did break back to level at 4-4, but Edmund hit back immediately and held serve to take a 2-0 lead.
It was a ruthless display from Edmund, with breaks in the first and last games of the third set setting up a second-round meeting with Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.
Serena Williams returned to the grand slam scene with victory over Kristyna Pliskova in the first round. The former world No 1 had not played a major tournament since winning a 23rd title at the 2017 Australian Open, having given birth to her daughter in September.
Her first grand slam action in over 15 months had the Paris fashionistas in a whirl as she walked on court in a black bodysuit with a bright pink belt.
Williams revealed: “I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess, kind of.
“I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero. I feel like a superhero when I wear it.”
Understandably, this was not quite a superhero performance. Williams is short of match sharpness and the footwork is not quite there yet.
But the 36-year-old’s serve remains a formidable weapon, helping her take the first set after a tie-break.
The pair exchanged breaks in the second set, with Williams grabbing the decisive one in the seventh game before sealing a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory – not bad going for her first match on clay in two years.
Maria Sharapova lost six games in a row and then won the next six as she got her return to Roland Garros off to a successful start.
The Russian appeared to be cruising at 6-1 3-1 ahead, but Holland’s Richel Hogenkamp suddenly had her on the ropes, taking the second set and racing 3-0 ahead in the decider.
But Sharapova rediscovered her game in the nick of time to reel off half a dozen games for a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory.
Rafael Nadal admitted he may have taken it a little too easy as he began his bid for an 11th French Open title.
Nadal’s latest Roland Garros campaign is up and running after a straight-sets – but far from straightforward – win over Simone Bolelli.
The Spaniard – top seed, worldNo 1, reigning champion and red-hot favourite for another Paris crown – had to return on Tuesday morning to finish his first-round clash against the lucky loser from Italy.
Nadal had taken the first two sets in typically ominous style, but then trailed 3-0 in the third when the rain came.
Nadal broke straight back on the resumption, but Bolelli did not let him have things his own way, threatening another break at 4-3.
Bolelli then forced four set points in a marathon tie-break, but the 16-time grand slam winner got over the line 6-4 6-3 7-6 (11/9).