French Open: Rafael Nadal Struggles, but Still Dominates

Chris Oddo aka The Fan ChildCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

PARIS - MAY 25:  Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand during his Men's Singles First Round match against Marcos Daniel of Brazil at the French Open on May 25, 2009 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
The colors were garish, and the error count was uncharacteristically high, but the results were the same as they've always been.

Rafael Nadal, wearing a color combination that seemed more suited to an Easter parade, was a straight-set winner on Court Phillipe Chatrier today against qualifier Marcos Daniel of Brazil, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.

The 29th consecutive win for Nadal at Roland Garros was a tricky affair, as the wind was antagonistic at times, and the play of 30-year-old Daniel exceeded everyone's expectations. The Brazilian was in the match mentally for the duration, and at times it appeared that he may be able to actually break through and take a set off the reigning four-time French Open champion.

Predictably, he did not. When it mattered most Nadal was able to find his range, and as the match progressed, Rafa was able to dial in his nasty topspin groundstrokes more regularly, leaving the Brazilian with nothing more than a cluster of missed opportunities.

It wasn't the most convincing effort for the Spaniard, but it was good enough for his 29th French Open victory without a blemish.


Federer Keeps Pace

Looking to build on his surprising title in Madrid, Federer quickly dispatched Spaniard Alberto Martin in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

The most impressive part of Federer's game was his serve, as he was able to win 56 of 75 points on his serve, including 16 of 24 on the second serve.

"I served well, that's true," he said. "It's a good thing for me because my serve is good to start the tournament, which is what I like. Now the rounds are going to be tougher and tougher, so I hope I can play better and better as well."


Roddick Finally Wins at Roland Garros

2005 was Andy Roddick's last win at the French Open. But the svelte Nebraskan played like he was in Arthur Ashe Stadium today, turning in a dominating performance against French wild card Romain Jouan.

As usual, Roddick was candid about his past failures.

"I'm just glad I finally won a match out here...I'd like to make the second week here. I feel that's a feasible goal and something that I'm surprised that I haven't done to this point in my career."

Using his kick serve to tie up the bewildered qualifier, Roddick did not surrender a single break point in the one hour and 44 minute affair.