Novak Djokovic schooled a young Serbo-American to win his opening test, but needed to complete his straight-set sweep with a tiebreaker.

The third seed posted a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (1) defeat of Aleks Kovacevic, whose father is from Serbia and his mother from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The No. 114 challenger was making his main draw debut in a Grand Slam at age 25.

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz  needed five match points to close out a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over Italian Flavio Cobolli which got tight in the closing stages.

The Spanish world No. 1 held a 5-4 lead in the third set but was broken while trying to serve it out.

At 5-5 he made another attempt, breaking Cobolli before requiring two more match-winning chances to close out a two-hour win in his first-ever match on the Suzanne Lenglen showcourt.

“I’m very happy playing her for the first time. It was not so great to be up 5-3 and not able to close it out – not a good feeling.

“But I always try to stay relaxed and forget the pressure.

“Tennis is very important for me – I enjoy playing.”  

Djokovic has not lost in a Paris first round since making his debut in 2005.

“Of course I want to dominate whoever I play regardless of the circumstances or who is across the net,” Djokovic said.

“Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. 

“I played really well and held things under control for two-and-a-half sets and then lost my serve and things got a little bit on the wrong side for

“But I managed to hold my nerves and played pretty much a perfect tiebreak.”

2015 champion Stan Wawrinka fought for four and a half hours to finally subdue Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(2), 1-6, 6-4.

The 38-year-old Swiss, a three-time Grand Slam champion, led two sets and a break and also took a 5-2 lead in the deciding fifth before finally pulling out the victory,

It was his eighth win without a loss against the Spaniard – but by far the most challenging.

“It was probably the toughest one I played against him, that’s for sure,” Wawrinka said.

“It was a toughbattle today, a long one, for sure

“I had some opportunity in the third set to maybe find a way to finish. I couldn’t. 

“He’s always been a tough player,  especially when he’s in his good rhythm. 

“It was important to stay focused on what I wanted to do.”

Two-time finalist Dominic Thiem, the 2021 US Open winner, lost for the third consecutive time in the first round, going down in five sets to Argentine Pedro Cachin 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (1), 3-6, 6-2.

The Austrian is still struggling with a return to form nearly two months after a wrist injury. 

Cam Norrie kept British hope alive as he steadied to defeat French wild card Benoit Paire in a thriller, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The epic which went for more than three and a half hours almost got away form the 12th seed as Norrie let a lead of a set and 5-3 slip. 

Cameron Norrie in action

But he recovered to win two of the next three sets to book his spot in the second round on another hot, summery day in Paris.

Norrie had to come from 2-4 down in the final set as he saw off the busy-bearded French threat, whose motivation faded during the COVID years as his ranking slid to its current 149th.

Paire threw down 16 aces but lost serve eight times while committing just over 80 unforced errors.

“It’s nice to see Benoit back competing really hard, it was a great atmosphere,” the winner said.

“I was for it to go my way in the fifth set; I’m pleased to be through after a really tough one.”

Norrie reached the second round for a third consecutive edition and will now face another French opponent in 

“I think all the training makes it worth it for moments like this, playing a fifth set at Roland Garros,” Norrie said.

“I am feeling good physically and I wanted to make the points long.”

He will next face another Frenchman in the form of qualifier and ex-Top 10 contender Lucas Pouille.

Paire said he is happy to be making progress once again on court:

“I’m not frustrated, I’m very happy. I’m coming back little by little in Roland Garros. 

“I’m the 149 ranking, and I’m playing against Norrie, who is 13. I lost in five sets, so I’m not frustrated. 

“It was a great match on my behalf and on Cameron’s behalf. At the beginning of the year I was 250; now I’m 149. 

“I played the Challengers, and I’m coming back little by little.”

Australian Alex de Minaur led a set and 5-3 but then had to play catch-up in the last two sets to ensure a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Ilya Ivashka.

He now takes on Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who advanced when Brit Jack Draper could not go on trailing 6-4, 1-0.

Diego Schwartzman snapped a five-match los streak dating to mid-April as he produced a defeat of Spain Bernabe Zapata Miralles 1-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was beaten 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 by Italian Fabio Fognini, lising his fifth match from the past seven.

With a shoulder injury bothering him for months, the player coached by Rafael Nadal’s Uncle Toni is now vowing to get himself fit before returning to the sport.

 “I’ll go home and have very accurate tests on my shoulder,” he said.

“I understand what’s happening with my general health. Next time I’ll be on a court, I want to be in shape.”

The winner of three titles in three weeks last autumn said there is more to deal with in his game besides just his physical issue.

“There are two or three things I need to figure out. As a player, I need to find myself again, to enjoy my tennis and to be back on the court healthy.”

He explained he was ill and cramping during a restless night and couldn’t sleep.

He cramped after just one set in his opening match.

Main photo:- Carlos Alcaraz winning first round match – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd