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Offbeat Nadal downs feisty Bolelli in Roland Garros opener

18:20  29 may  2018
18:20  29 may  2018 Source:   reuters.com

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Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros , Paris, France - May 29, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his first round match against Italy's Bolelli resumed play as he had ended the night before: sending down missiles at Nadal from his baseline, seeking to prise open the Spaniard's defenses.

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros , Paris, France - May 29, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his first round match against Italy's Simone Bolelli Bolelli resumed play as he had ended the night before: sending down missiles at Nadal from his baseline, seeking to prise open the Spaniard's


Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited show of aggressive groundstroke hitting by lucky loser Simone Bolelli as he launched his campaign for an eleventh crown on the terre battue of Roland Garros with 6-4 6-3 7-6(9) victory.

Resuming the match on Tuesday after a thunderstorm ended the previous night's play early in the third set, Nadal was forced to an entertaining tiebreak to wrap up a hard-fought French Open first round encounter.

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Bolelli resumed play as he had ended the night before: sending down missiles at Nadal from his baseline, seeking to prise open the Spaniard’s defences. Nadal maintained the calm and poise of a French Open champion who entered the tournament with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros

Bolelli resumed play as he had ended the night before: sending down missiles at Nadal from his baseline, seeking to prise open the Spaniard's defences. Nadal maintained the calm and poise of a French Open champion who entered the tournament with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros

Bolelli resumed play as he had ended the night before: sending down missiles at Nadal from his baseline, seeking to prise open the Spaniard's defenses. Two audacious backhand passing shots on the Nadal first serve and several disguised drop shots brought loud gasps from the crowd.

Nadal maintained the calm and poise of a French Open champion who entered the tournament with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros, retrieving seemingly impossible balls and letting rip with his own exquisite passing shots.

He survived four set points against him in the tiebreak, coming back from a 3-6 deficit, before finally triumphing.

"It was a very difficult match. Simone played so aggressive, he had so many chances in the third (set)," Nadal told the center court crowd.

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Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited show of aggressive groundstroke hitting by lucky loser Simone Bolelli as he launched his campaign for an eleventh crown Nadal maintained the calm and poise of a French Open champion who entered the tournament with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros

French Open PIX: Nadal downs Bolelli ; Muguruza, Sharapova advance. Images from Day 3 of the French Open in Paris on Tuesday. Nadal maintained the calm and poise of a French Open champion who entered the tournament with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros , retrieving

Bolelli was fearless from the outset, with nothing to lose. Nadal, after all, had won his tenth French Open title in 2017 without dropping a single set and has been in imperious form, arriving in Paris with a 19-1 win-loss record on clay this year.

The world number one grinded out Monday's first set 6-4 but the Italian kept coming, at times hitting the ball harder and flatter than Nadal to lead by a break in the second before Nadal fought back to take a two-set lead.

Still Bolelli was not yet done, returning to the court on Tuesday with an early break in the bag and hitting ferociously at the Nadal baseline. Yet he was unable to break through and squandered four set points.

"It was a good test for me," Nadal said.

(Reporting by Richard Lough)

Nadal into 11th French Open semi; del Potro in 1st since '09 .
Rafael Nadal turned things around with the help of two rain delays and came back to beat Diego Schwartzman in four sets in the French Open quarterfinals.That he trailed by a set and a break before rain delays allowed him to change tactics and recover to get there? Now that, certainly, was unusual.

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