PARIS (AP) Rafael Nadal narrowly avoided dropping a set at the French Open for the first time in three years and finished off his rain-interrupted 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9) victory over 129th-ranked Simone Bolelli of Italy.
Beginning his bid for a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, Nadal needed to erase four set points to close things out Tuesday.
Bolelli produced a drop volley winner for a 6-3 lead in the tiebreaker, but Nadal discarded that trio of set points with an ace, a backhand volley winner and an inside-out forehand winner. Bolelli then had another set point at 7-6, but put a forehand return in the net.
From there, it took Nadal three match points to finish, reaching the second round when Bolelli missed a forehand.
Nadal grabbed the opening two sets Monday, but trailed 3-0 in the third when play was suspended because of rain.
Nadal hasn’t ceded a set at the French Open since 2015, when he was beaten in the quarterfinals by Novak Djokovic. In 2016, Nadal withdrew with an injured left wrist after a pair of easy victories, then claimed every set he played last year en route to the trophy.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Matthew Ebden 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open on Friday.
Federer was made to work hard by Ebden, who saved five of the eight break points he faced and was leading 5-3 in the second set.
Federer, who saved two match points against Benoit Paire in the second round the day before, recovered to go 6-5 up and then broke Ebden to take his first match point for a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.
Kudla earlier defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 to book his semifinal place.
Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 19 including the Stuttgart title and last year’s titles in Halle and Wimbledon. He is bidding for a record-extending 10th trophy in Halle.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.
Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.
But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.
The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.