Spain's no. 1 and the world no. 4 at the moment, Rafael Nadal is trying to capture his 10th French Open singles title. A 2-week journey stands ahead with the 30-year-old as the top contender for the men's title. His status comes from having a tremendous run during the clay court season. He mounted a total of three ATP titles including two Masters 1000 events over the past 2 months. The clay court campaign of 2017 could see Nadal reemerging as the world no. 2 after few years spent a bit far from the top. Roaming through the second half of the main draw, he could collide with Novak Djokovic (the defending champion) in the semis.

Nadal started bid against home favorite Benoit Paire

Benoit Paire is a 28-year-old Frenchman ranked 45th in the world who can produce an exquisite game of Tennis but who still has issues in adding some consistency to his performance. During the clay season, his only significant achievement was a stunning win over Stan Wawrinka (3 ATP) in Madrid round of 32. Against Nadal, the head to head status put the Spaniard in front with a 2-0 lead. Their previous two meetings occurred back in 2013 during the clay session. Earlier today, Rafael Nadal got past Benoit Paire in straight sets 1-6 4-6 1-6. Except for the second act, when Paire delivered a better level of tennis, it was all about Nadal seizing the court for himself.

In the next round, the almighty Spaniard will face Robin Haase (46 ATP). The 30-year-old Dutch player lost both previous matches against Nadal but the upcoming clash is on clay, a surface they have never competed against one another on before.

Nadal's quarter of the draw is not an easy ride towards a higher ground. Along the way, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic or Roberto Bautista-Agut are likely to pose a strong opposition.

Nadal could have quite an anniversary

On the 3rd of June, the Spaniard will turn 31 years of age. And what a way to celebrate it other than winning the french open for the 10th time? Aside from the perfect number, the achievement itself will put Nadal at second place in the general ranking. It's extraordinary how he keeps on finding ways to motivate himself despite his age and the recent injuries.

A year ago, even his career hung in a balance while now it is alive and well.

With Andy Murray struggling with form, by the end of the year Nadal could be again the world no. 1. He has few points to defend over the second part of the season while Murray, Wawrinka or Djokovic cannot say the same.