PARIS, May 29 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal smoothly negotiated the potential stumbling block presented by Frenchman Benoit Paire on Monday, launching his bid for a 10th French Open trophy with a largely routine 6-1 6-4 6-1 win.
The heavy favourite for the title looked in imperious form as he steamed through the first set in under half an hour.
Paire, described prior to their encounter on Court Suzanne Lenglen as a dangerous opponent by Nadal, played with more freedom in a closer second set as the Spaniard lost his edge. Trading baseline rallies, they exchanged breaks to leave the Frenchman leading 4-3.
But Nadal then pulled clear and, with Paire periodically clutching his stomach after a medical time out, the Spaniard took nine of the last 10 games to close out the match in just under two hours. (Reporting by John Stonestreet, editing by Pritha Sarkar)