Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams barely got their shoes dusty at the French Open on Tuesday but two of the top five women’s seeds went out and Andy Murray survived the first round by the skin of his teeth.
World number one Djokovic, back on the Philippe Chatrier Court where Stan Wawrinka snatched the title from his grasp a year ago when a career slam loomed, crushed Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-4 6-1 6-1.
Nadal found big-serving Australian Sam Groth even more compliant as the Spaniard began his tilt at a 10th Roland Garros title with a 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory.
Reigning champion and top seed Williams completed the Chatrier programme by polishing off Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2 6-0.
Predictable day three most definitely was not, though.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who four months ago downed Williams to win the Australian Open, was sent tumbling out by flying Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens who won 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Third seed Kerber was troubled by a shoulder injury while later fifth seed Victoria Azarenka, the former world number one, hobbled out with a knee injury against Italy’s Karin Knapp when she trailed 4-0 in the deciding set.
The women’s draw has now lost three of the top seven seeds after Italian Robert Vinci’s demise on Monday.
It rarely happens to the leading men though.
Djokovic has not exited a slam in the first round since the 2006 Australian Open and a repeat never looked possible as he began a familiar quest for the one major title to elude him.