Novak Djokovic smashes the ball against Hubert Hurkacz during their first-round match on Monday. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP

PARIS – Top seed Novak Djokovic eased into the second round of the French Open on Monday with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 defeat of young Polish player Hubert Hurkacz.

The 32-year-old Serb is bidding for a second Roland Garros title, and to become the first man in the professional era to hold all four Grand Slam titles on two separate occasions.

Reigning champion Rafael Nadal, the man most likely to block Djokovic’s path to a second “Nole Slam”, had earlier launched his bid for a 12th title on the Parisian clay in sublime fashion.

But Djokovic more than matched the Spaniard’s display with a near faultless performance in the afternoon sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier to seal a 22nd consecutive win in Grand Slam play since losing in the quarter-finals here last year.

He broke serve in the opening game on his way to taking the opening set in routine fashion, and the only blip was when he dropped serve at 4-1 in the second set.

The match was more or less in the bag by then, however, and Djokovic cantered to victory to set up a second-round clash with Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen.

Reuters