Djokovic lays the first stone at Roland Garros

Djokovic lays the first stone at Roland Garros
Djokovic lays the first stone at Roland Garros

The defense of the title starts on the right track for Novak Djokovic. The world number 1 took the first step in Roland Garros 2024 to beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert by 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4 in a somewhat strange match for the Serbian. Nole was solid in the first set, but little by little he began to transmit that feeling of not giving his best level. And this trend that Nole is following in his last tournaments has been evident once again. Still, Novak is Novak and in Grand Slams he knows how to give that extra something that makes him a favorite in any circumstance. Of course, his local rival showed a very good level and did not give up at any time.

The Frenchman started the match on serve, quite firm and carrying his control very well. But of course, Djokovic also knows how to respond like no one else, showing himself little by little calibrating his tennis on the court. And the world number 1 reacted very well to what Herbert was trying to do with the drop shots, also finding the gap in the lines to break the service of his rival right off the bat. The Frenchman showed a good hand, but Nole played the ball better, giving up only two points on his serve until he was 5-3 up. Herbert’s tactic of subtracting his opponent’s second serves from him so far back did not serve him strategically, as the number 1 did not really feel the pressure. Although little by little he was moving forward with his serves, the Frenchman had no opportunities for the rest and he tried to stop Nole with a great direct return when he was serving to win the set. However, Djokovic got through this first set quite comfortably without any problems.

Nole is not at his best level, but he does not decline

The second set was something a little more strange on Nole’s part, with ups and downs that kept him committed until the end. He enjoyed a break point after wearing down his rival from one side to the other and Nole got his goal, but the Frenchman quickly recovered to level the set. This was the first sign that Djokovic had a slight decline compared to the first, since his forehand was also giving him problems. For his part, Herbert just let go, giving battle to a Nole who saw how his rival climbed into the audience on her back. And the Serbian now found himself with a very good version of the Frenchman, very skilled at the net and who was giving him more of a fight. Thus, Novak was seen to be less firm, sometimes even crestfallen and without that aggressiveness in his blows compared to the beginning of the match. It had to be in the tie break the moment in which the Serbian raised his level, dominating again with an evident change in his body expression. Finally, the set fell to the side of a Nole who resurfaced to flood his opponent with doubts.

Even so, the place never gave up. Herbert reacted very focused to save several break points, holding up very well in the face of any complications. And this last set was actually quite even, as the Frenchman did what he had to do at all times and showed a lot of class with that doubles specialist volley. His serve also kept him alive in the match, but Nole is a lot of Nole and increased the pressure in order to win the match. Thus, an unfortunate double fault by Herbert gave the victory to Djokovic who, although he was not at his best level, lays the first stone to defend a very important title. Now, Carballés.

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