Nadal survives scare, Sharapova serves up storm
PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal's bid for an historic eighth French Open title was almost spectacularly derailed on Monday by big-hitting German Daniel Brands.
But there were no such problems for defending women's champion Maria Sharapova who eased past Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei in just 54 minutes, surrendering only eight points on serve.
Seven-time champion Nadal dropped the opening set of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career before he prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3 against a player who had lost all four of his previous matches in Paris.
The Spaniard, who before this year had only lost once in 53 outings at Roland Garros, came into the tournament having won six titles in eight finals since he returned from a seventh-month injury lay-off.