Paris, May 29 (IANS) Rafael Nadal was one set away from victory before rain interrupted his match against Italy’s Simone Bolelli in the men’s singles first round of the French Open.
The same day witnessed last year’s runner-up Stan Wawrinka bow out through full sets, reports Xinhua news agency.
Ten-time winner Nadal saw a change of his first opponent at Roland Garros this year, as lucky loser Bolelli replaced injured Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the main draw on Monday.
Bolelli kept himself within touch from Nadal through his powerful backhand, as he held serves for a 4-4 tie after the eighth game, but the “King of Clay” broke Bolelli’s service in the 10th game to set the opening set 6-4.
Bolelli heated up quicker after the interval and finished his break in the first game, before extending his lead to 3-1. Nadal, in quest for his 11th title at Roland Garros, then won five games in a row to move on.
After Bolelli took away the first three games of the third set, the downpours delayed the duel to Tuesday.
Maria Sharapova, who made her return to Roland Garros after two years, also needs to play her first round against Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands one day later than schedule.
Wawrinka, who lost to Nadal in last year’s final, showed little positive sign of coming back from his knee injury, as he lost to Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
However, the Swiss shrugged off any connection between the tough loss and his knee plague.
Novak Djokovic swept Grand Slam titles two years ago in Paris, while competing in this year’s tournament as No. 20 seed, his lowest Grand Slam seeding since the 2006 U.S. Open after an elbow injury forced him to be sidelined from many tournaments last year.
The Serbian saw off Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, joining seeded players Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman and Sam Querrey in the second round.
“It has been difficult to face the most challenging injury that I have ever had,” recalled Djokovic.
“It’s been a long 12 months behind me, but I’m starting to play better. In the past couple of
weeks, I feel like playing pain free, not thinking about the elbow,” he added.
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki withstood challenge from Danielle Collins of the United States to move past the women’s singles first round 7-6 (2), 6-1.
Women’s prominent names Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova also marched on, while former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka fell short at 7-5, 7-5 against Katerina Siniakova.
China’s Zhang Shuai, Peng Shuai and Duan Yingying will kick off their campaign at the 2018 French Open on Tuesday.