Nadal averts disaster, Murray wins
Rafael Nadal escaped one of the biggest upsets in tennis history after fighting back from a set down to beat America's John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-4 at the French Open on Tuesday.india Updated: May 25, 2011 01:21 IST
Rafael Nadal escaped one of the biggest upsets in tennis history after fighting back from a set down to beat America's John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-4 at the French Open on Tuesday.
The defending champion, bidding for a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros title, had never previously dropped a set in the tournament's first round but came close to a huge shock against the big-serving world number 39 made famous by his 11-hour epic match against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon last year.
"Tres, tres difficile!" said Nadal, in the tournament's native tongue, in an on-court interview at the conclusion of the 4hr 01min match.
"He was a very, very tough opponent. His serve is almost unstoppable at times, so I just want to congratulate him for this fantastic match.
"It's important to go through these difficult moments. I would prefer to win in three sets but I'm trying to be positive so maybe that can help me in the future."
Top seed and five-time winner Nadal, whose claycourt invulnerability was punctured by recent losses to Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Madrid and Rome Masters tournaments, will confront countryman Pablo Andujar in round two.
Isner saved four break points at 3-3 in the first set before conceding the break with a backhand that landed marginally wide.
Nadal closed out the set and then broke Isner in the opening game of the second set, only for the American to break back in game eight when Nadal sent a forehand wide.
Maria Sharapova eased into the women's singles second round on Tuesday, but the Russian took second billing to grieving Virginie Razzano, who honoured her fiance's dying wish to play the French Open.
Sharapova had little trouble disposing of Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic 6-3, 6-0, as the former world number one began her campaign to clinch a first French Open title.
Sania Mirza and Elena Vasina moved into the second round of the women's doubles with a 7-6 (2) 6-2 win over Russians Vera Dushevina and Ekaterina Makarova.