Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory against Quentin Halys in the first round of the French Open ©Getty Images

Defending champion Rafael Nadal began his bid for a 10th French Open title with a straight-sets victory over teenage wildcard Quentin Halys at Roland Garros in Paris today.

The number six seed won 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier to improve his overall tournament record to 67 wins and one defeat.

Despite dropping a service game to his French opponent in the first set, and being limited to a single break of serve in the second and third, it was enough for Nadal to set up a second-round meeting with fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro.

"When I've had some up and downs during the season, it's normal that can happen here," said Nadal, who has dropped down the world rankings following a below-par clay-court season by his exceedingly high standards. 

"I am trying to avoid that.

"I am here to try to play good tennis and give myself a chance to play well and compete for everything.

"My mentality and my goal is the same always."

The win keeps the 28-year-old on course for a quarter-final showdown with top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic, who overcame Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.

The Serbian found himself 5-2 behind in the second set before success in the next nine games all but wrapped up a 23rd consecutive win.

Djokovic is vying to win his first French Open crown and become only the eighth man to complete the career Grand Slam by adding to his Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.

The United States' Serena Williams secured her passage into the second round
United States' Serena Williams secured her passage into the second round ©Getty Images

Meanwhile on the women’s side, American top seed Serena Williams cruised into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlaváčková.

Hlaváčková’s compatriot Petra Kvitová, the fourth seed, required three breaks of serve in the final set to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, while fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark was too strong for Italy’s Karin Knapp in a 6-3, 6-0 triumph.

There was a surprise loss though for Canadian sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard, who was on the wrong end of a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline against France's Kristina Mladenovic, the world number 44.

Tomorrow’s action sees Switzerland’s Roger Federer, the men’s number two seed, take on Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Russia’s Maria Sharapova, the defending women’s champion, go up against compatriot Vitalia Diatchenko in the second round.

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