Defending Champion Djokovic Starts Title Defence With Simple Victory

Defending Champion Djokovic Starts Title Defence With Simple Victory

by Zachary Wimer

Roland Garros' defending champion, Novak Djokovic, started off his 2024 campaign with a win, beating native player Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The 24-time major winner has had a bad season so far, and to put it into perspective, he's 13th in the 2024 ATP Race. Of course, the Serbian didn't play as much as his rivals, but the same could be applied also to the previous seasons when he dominated.

That's not a good start to the season for Djokovic, and he tried to change that at the last two events he played, which were the Italian Open and the Geneva Open. The freak bottle incident, when a metal bottle dropped on his head, impacted his Italian Open campaign.

On the other hand, his Geneva Open participation was a decent showing, but there was no final or trophy at the end of it. Turning things around quickly for Roland Garros seemed impossible, and he didn't really play a spectacular match, but he did exactly what he needed to do.

He played a competitive match and won it comfortably against a tricky and native player who could have technically done some damage. A few more wins like this, and Djokovic might rediscover his magic.

After all, it's a Grand Slam, and these are the events he cares about. The first set started with an early break for the 37-year-old, which he held for the rest of the set.

Herbert tried to be very aggressive in that set, but he overhit heavily many times, totaling 13 unforced errors, which was simply too much. Djokovic was, for the most part, solid.

Herbert did a better job in the second set, forcing a tie-break, but he then couldn't trouble his opponent at all, losing it 3-7. The Frenchman was solid in the final set as well, although he couldn't hold his serve once more. He ended the match with a double fault, sending Djokovic into the second round, with a win 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4.

Novak Djokovic vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert Match Stats:

Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4 Pierre-Hugues Herbert
4 Aces 7
2 Double Faults 6
69% First Serve % 64%
84% (49/58) Points Won After First Serve % 70% (47/67)
73% (19/26) Points Won After Second Serve % 51% (19/37)
43% (3/7) Break Point Conversion 100% (1/1)
29 Winners 37
18 Unforced Errors 31


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