Millennium Post

Top seeds see the light

Rafael Nadal was forced to dig deep into his near bottomless resolve to salvage a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 first-round win over Germany’s Daniel Brands on Monday that had threatened to turn nasty for the seven-time French Open champion.

The Spaniard who has lost only once in eight years at Roland Garros, was a set and 3-0 down in the second-set tiebreak before finally subduing the 59th-ranked Brands.

Playing his first Grand Slam match since crashing out of last year’s Wimbledon to lowly-ranked Czech Lukas Rosol, history threatened to repeat itself as Brands, who had never won a match at Roland Garros in four attempts, dictated the early stages. Nadal, down to fourth in the rankings after seven months out injured, broke in the first game of both the third and fourth sets to wrestle back control of the match.

Chinese sixth seed Li Na, the 2011 champion, cruised into the French Open second round on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues.  The 31-year-old Li, who will face Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States, for a place in the last 32, had lost all three of her previous career meetings on clay against Garrigues.

Local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga barely broke sweat as he brushed aside Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-2 6-2 6-3 to book his place in the second round of the French Open. Former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki ended a five-match losing streak by defeating Laura Robson of Britain 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

Agnieszka Radwanska needed only 57 minutes to win her opening match, beating  Israel’s Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-1.
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