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Nadal needs four sets to win his first-round French Open match

May 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM

PARIS, May 27 (UPI) -- Returning champion Rafael Nadal of Spain needed four sets to win his first-round match Monday at the French Open.

The third seed had to struggle with 6-foot-5 Daniel Brands on Day 2 at Roland Garros, but the clay-court king fought back to beat the German 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours, 54 minutes on. Nadal broke Brands three times, while the German had only one break.

Nadal, 11-time Grand Slam singles titlist and former world No. 1, downed current top-ranked star Novak Djokovic in last year's French final.

Nadal is 38-2 this year, including trips into finals in all eight of his 2013 events. He is seeking his seventh title of the season.

Earlier Monday Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sixth-seeded French crowd favorite and former Australian Open runner-up, excused Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Also Monday in other action involving top seeds, No. 10 Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated German Philipp Petzschner 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. No. 13 Kei Nishikori of Japan whipped Canadian Jesse Levine 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.

Feliciano Lopez downed 31st-seeded fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; 32nd-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo whipped Estonian Jurgen Zopp 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.

Some other opening-round winners: France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, German Tobias Kamke and Dutchman Igor Sijsling.

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