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Djokovic Powers Into Second Round; Robredo, Simon Advance

Paris, France

Djokovic© AFP/Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic powered his way into the second round.

Novak Djokovic won a rain-interrupted opener at Roland Garros on Monday.

Second seed and 2012 runner-up Djokovic cruised past Joao Sousa, currently No. 42 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 for a place in the second round against Jeremy Chardy, who beat Roger Federer at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome two weeks ago.

“I played, for most of the match, quite solid,” said Djokovic. “[The] end of the match was not so nice from my side. [I] dropped my serve twice.

“He (Chardy) had a big win against Federer in Rome, so I'm sure he's very motivated to play his best. But I [have been] looking forward to this tournament for a long time. I'm in a good form, and hopefully I can use that against Chardy.”

Djokovic earned his 25th match win in 28 matches this year to open his campaign for his first Roland Garros title. During a rain delay, he invited the ball kid holding an umbrella over his head to join him on the bench. He handed his new friend a bottle of Perrier from his tennis bag, and the pair made a toast, to the delight of the crowd. 

Should the World No. 2 triumph in Paris, he would become the eighth man in history to complete a career Grand Slam. The Serbian, who celebrated his 27th birthday on 22 May, has won nine of his 44 titles on clay courts.

Tommy Robredo, the No. 17 seed, beat James Ward - the first British man to qualify for Roland Garros since John Lloyd in 1973 - 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in another match that was interrupted due to rain. He will play Kenny de Schepper.

"I thought I played really well throughout the whole match," said Ward. "I fought hard, got back into the match, and, again, had a couple of chances in the fourth [set]. He's one of the toughest players to play on clay in the world. I put him up there Top 5 in the last ten years, so [I am] pleased with my efforts. Hopefully, [I can] take this sort of form on to the next few weeks."

In Paris last year, Robredo equalled his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the quarter-finals (l. to Ferrer). He became the second man in history - after Henri Cochet at 1927 Wimbledon - to come back from 0-2 sets down in three consecutive matches.

Robredo next meets Frenchman Kenny De Schepper, who led 3-1 when Spaniard Albert Montanes retired from the match.

Gilles Simon recorded his 50th Grand Slam championship match win late afternoon, hitting 25 winners in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over qualifier Ante Pavic. The No. 29 seed has reached the fourth round on two occasions in 2011 (l. to Soderling) and 2013 (l. to Federer).

Benoit Paire joined his countrymen in the second round, beating Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4). He goes on to face 27th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 winner over Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstani Mikhail Kukushkin prevented a Grand Slam reunion between marathon men John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, as he defeated Mahut 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.

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