Djokovic battles into 2nd round of French Open after Herbert triumph Loop Jamaica

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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic clenches his fist after scoring a point against France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena).

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Novak Djokovic fought off a stern challenge from Pierre-Hugues Hubert to make a successful start to his French Open title defence on Tuesday.

The world number one held off the challenge of the home favourite to win 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, setting him on his way to a potential 25th Grand Slam title.

Djokovic enjoyed a fairly comfortable first set but had to work hard to win the second as Hubert took a more aggressive approach. He steadied in time for a crucial tie-break though, holding his nerve to secure it.

The Serbian regained control in the final set, sealing the win after a double fault from Hubert to set up a second-round tie against Roberto Carballes Baena.

Djokovic (367) trails only Roger Federer (369) for men’s singles match wins at Grand Slam events in the Open Era, and could overtake him with a strong showing at the French Open.

He is now 72-2 in opening round matches at Grand Slam events, winning his past 69 such matches. Djokovic’s last opening round loss came via retirement at the 2011 US Open against Conor Niland.

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