Title favourite Rafael Nadal eases past Simone Bolelli in Roland Garros opener

Title favourite Rafael Nadal eases past Simone Bolelli in Roland Garros opener

Rafael Nadal's bid for an 11th French Open title is up and running after a straight-sets - but far from straightforward - win over Simone Bolelli.

Title favourite Rafael Nadal eases past Simone Bolelli in Roland Garros opener

The Spaniard - top seed, world number one, reigning champion and red-hot favourite for another Roland Garros crown - had to return on Tuesday morning to finish his first-round clash against the lucky loser from Italy.

Nadal had taken the first two sets in typically ominous style but then trailed 3-0 in the third when the rain came.

Nadal broke straight back on the resumption but Bolelli did not let him have things his own way, threatening another break at 4-3.

Bolelli then forced four set points in a marathon tie-break but the 16-time grand slam winner got over the line 6-4 6-3 7-6 (11/9).

Third seed Marin Cilic made short work of his first-round match, going through in straight sets against Australian James Duckworth.

The Croatian, runner-up at the Australian Open in January, shrugged off a 45-minute rain delay to run out 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7/4) winner.

South African Kevin Anderson, seeded six, was another comfortable winner as he swept past Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-1 6-2 6-4.

Update 7.35pm Nadal reacts to three-set win.

"It was a good match. It was a difficult match, because he played so aggressive and very well," said Nadal.

"I resisted, you know, it's always difficult to play against players that want to hit every ball so hard, and even more if it's the first round.

"He played well, so well, playing with lots of risk but having success with all of the risk that he took.

"Yeah, I played a match that I have to play more aggressively, I know. But it was difficult to play so aggressive being in the first round and against a player who really came on court and decided to play that strong."

- PA

More on this topic

The best moments from day 10 at the French OpenThe best moments from day 10 at the French Open

Osaka hits back to defeat Schmiedlova and progress at French OpenOsaka hits back to defeat Schmiedlova and progress at French Open

Jamie Murray admits splitting from doubles partner Bruno Soares is a gambleJamie Murray admits splitting from doubles partner Bruno Soares is a gamble

Williams admits she considered skipping the French OpenWilliams admits she considered skipping the French Open

More in this Section

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aims dig at Manchester City ahead of derbyOle Gunnar Solskjaer aims dig at Manchester City ahead of derby

Changes galore for Irish provinces as Champions Cup teams announcedChanges galore for Irish provinces as Champions Cup teams announced

Lewis Dunk believes Arsenal’s disgruntled fanbase helped Brighton to victoryLewis Dunk believes Arsenal’s disgruntled fanbase helped Brighton to victory

Freddie Ljungberg accuses Arsenal players of being ‘scared’Freddie Ljungberg accuses Arsenal players of being ‘scared’


Lifestyle

It’s not what you have that makes you happy, it’s what you do. And what better time to be proactive than during the season of goodwill, says Margaret Jennings.Joy to the world: Strategies to increase your happiness during the season of goodwill

More From The Irish Examiner