Defending champions Sharapova and Nadal advance in Paris
Updated: 2013-05-28 10:38
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, May 27, 2013. Sharapova defeated Hsieh 6-2 6-1. [Photo/Agencies]
PARIS - Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal fought back from one set down to get past Daniel Brands of Germany while women's title holder Maria Sharapova and the 2011 champion Li Na both booked their berths in the second round with easy victories at the French Open on Monday.
Nadal, the third seed bidding for a record eighth title here, suffered an early scare but managed to go through with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3 win over the world number 59.
The Spaniard trailed 0-3 in the second set tie-break and was plunging to the brink of a disaster like his last match at Wimbledon last year, where Lukas Rosol caused one of the biggest upsets in tennis history by beating Nadal in the second round.
But he found his form and took the set with powerful forehand winners down the line and went on to take the following two sets comfortably.
"Sometimes, when you feel you are hitting not a bad shot and every time comes back a bomb and a winner from the beginning, sometimes that's frustrating," Nadal said.
"At two sets to love, I don't say that I wouldn't have a chance, because I always hope that there is a chance and I will keep fighting," said Nadal. "But you have to play under a lot of pressure the rest of the match. So I found the solution at the right time."
Nadal will play Martin Klizan, the world number 35 from Slovakia, in the second round.
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return to Daniel Brands of Germany during their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, May 27, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
World No 2 Sharapova breezed past 42-ranked Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei 6-2, 6-1 in just 55 minutes.
"It's nice to come back to a place where you feel like you're part of its history, where your name will always be ingrained somewhere on the wall or on the trophy. It's a really nice feeling."
Li Na, who became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam champion here, beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 6-4.
Li, the sixth seed, who held a 1-4 record previously, won 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes over the 61st-ranked Spaniard.