Nadal battles through, Del Potro comes from behind

There were wins for Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro at the French Open on Tuesday.

Spain's Rafael Nadal.   -  Getty Images

Rafael Nadal's bid for an 11th French Open title got off to a winning start as he overcame Simone Bolelli 6-4 6-3 7-6 (11-9) on Tuesday.

Although he made it through the rain-delayed clash in straight sets, the world number one had to fend off four set points to prevail in a third-set tie-break - Nadal's first at Roland Garros since 2013.

Juan Martin del Potro was also made to work hard for his place in the next round, coming from a set down to beat veteran wildcard Nicolas Mahut.

Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez equalled a record held by Roger Federer, despite losing his first-round match.

 

NADAL PRAISE FOR BOLELLI

"It was a good match," said Nadal of his clash with Bolelli. "It was a difficult match because he played so aggressive and very well, I think.

"I resisted. 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 lot of risk but having success with all of the risk that he took.

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

DEL POTRO'S SLOW START

Mahut was in sensational form in the early part of his clash with Del Potro and claimed the first set 6-1, much to the delight of the home crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

But it did not last, as Del Potro hit his stride to progress with a 1-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory.

"The more the match was going on, the more I understood that he was really regaining all of his potential," said Mahut.

Del Potro maintained his unbeaten record against home players at grand slams, having beaten five Frenchmen in Paris and three Americans at the US Open. He has never faced an Australian in Melbourne or a Briton at Wimbledon.

LOPEZ TIES FEDERER RECORD

Lopez stands on the brink of having a piece of tennis history all to himself after levelling a record held by Federer on Tuesday.

The Spaniard's first-round match against Sergiy Stakhovsky was his 65th consecutive appearance in a grand slam main draw, a run which started at Roland Garros back in 2002.

Unfortunately for Lopez, he was unable to mark the occasion with a win, losing 6-2 6-4 6-2 to the Ukrainian.

Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and John Isner were among the other first-round winners on Tuesday.

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