Rafael Nadal resumed his rain-suspended match with Simone Bolelli on Tuesday at the French Open with the Italian down two sets but up 3-0 in the third. Rafa, of course, immediately got back on serve but then things got interesting.
With Bolelli still slapping winners mixed with drop shots, a tiebreaker was forced – Nadal’s first breaker at Roland Garros since the 2013 semis against Novak Djokovic – and Bolelli led 6-3! But once again Rafa came back and finally took it 9-7 to win the match 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9).
“He was a very aggressive player, and he was playing very strong. I didn’t know that he was going to play so aggressively. I understood that I really had to attack, and I had to have the proper mindset, be positive, and accept how things were unfolding, and he was playing very well,” Nadal said.
“There were few transition shots where I could manage to pick up my pace. But I managed to do it, and that was the important thing today.”
Nadal has now won 29 straight sets at the French Open but this was the first one where his opponent even got to five. And Bolelli held four set points chances in that third set.
“He played well, playing with lot of risk but having success with all of the risk that he took,” Nadal added. “For me, it was difficult to find 100%, the rhythm, because I didn’t have so many points that I could take the advantage and hit three, four balls with the right position.”
Late on Chatrier, Juan Martin del Potro took the court to test that gimpy groin against French veteran Nicolas Mahut, and it didn’t start well. In a blink, Mahut took the first 6-1, but Del Potro regrouped and pounded down Mahut for a very strong 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win. And showed little if any signs of a groin issue.
“Thanks to the very good professionals that’s around me, I was able to play,” Del Potro said. “The doctor gave me some ten days, we respected this pause of ten days, and now I’m back.”
Teen phenom Denis Shapovalov opened play on Suzanne Lenglen and after going down a break in the first, got into gear and sailed past Aussie John Millman 7-5, 6-4, 6-2.
“It was really tough conditions today with the rain,” said Shapovalov. “The court was getting pretty heavy, but the balls especially, they were getting really fluffy and heavy. But, at the same time, I felt like I played really well… I’m really happy with the win. It’s not an easy match against John. He’s such an experienced player.
“I wasn’t too concerned 2-5 down, I knew I had a couple of chances before the break. I stayed pretty calm… I felt in the first set I was still the better player, even though he had broken me. Maybe my confidence on clay has grown. My inner belief that I can come back is there with me, during the tough moments, and it’s given me a little bit of inner confidence.”
Playing at the same time was Millman’s countryman James Duckworth who was making his Slam main draw debut after 16 months.
In the slow, wet conditions, Duckworth was also rolled with Marin Cilic doing the honors, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(4).
John Isner finished off Noah Rubin in three. Fabio Fognini impressed and Kyle Edmund knocked out Aussie teen Alex De Minaur.
In the one upset, 14 seed Jack Sock became the highest seeded eliminated as he fell in five sets to Estonian “lucky loser” Jurgen Zopp 6-7(4), 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3.
Sock has now lost 4 of his last 5 matches in Slams while Zopp picks up his best career win and sets a date with another lucky loser in the second round, Ruben Bemelmens. What a draw!
Tomorrow, Novak Djokovic returns against Spanish 21-year-old Jaume Munar. Dominic Thiem also gets a taste of the future in Stefanos Tsistipas. Alexander Zverev returns.
Gael Monfils, Lucas Pouille are on for the France fans plus the conclusion of Chady-Berdych, Benneteau-Mayer and the Chatrier match between Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori.
WEDNESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER – Play starts at 11am
Simona HALEP (ROU)  v Alison RISKE (USA)
To Finish: Chardy-Berdych
Kei NISHIKORI (JPN)  v Benoit PAIRE (FRA)
Georgina GARCIA PEREZ (ESP) v Caroline WOZNIACKI (DEN) 
Lucas POUILLE (FRA) v Cameron NORRIE (GBR)
Court Suzanne LENGLEN – Play starts at 11am
Viktoria KUZMOVA (SVK) v Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)
Jaume MUNAR (ESP) v Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) 
David GOFFIN (BEL) v Corentin MOUTET (FRA)
Alizé CORNET (FRA) v Pauline PARMENTIER (FRA)
Court 1 – Play starts at 11am
Petra KVITOVA (CZE)  v Lara ARRUABARRENA (ESP)
To Finish: Mayer-Benneteau
Dusan LAJOVIC (SRB) v Alexander ZVEREV (GER) 
Martin KLIZAN (SVK) v Gael MONFILS (FRA)
Daria KASATKINA (RUS)  v Kirsten FLIPKENS (BEL)
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