French Open: Rafael Nadal endures another struggle at Roland Garros

The Spaniard is in to the third round after winning  rain delayed match against Martin Klizan

Rafael Nadal endured another struggle at the French Open before defeating Martin Klizan in four sets to reach the third round.

The match was due to be played yesterday but they only got as far as the warm-up before one of numerous rain breaks sent them back to the locker room.

Nadal is not used to playing the first match of the day so perhaps the early start explained his lethargy on a cool and blustery Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The Spaniard does not like such conditions, which reduce the effect of his spin, while he also tends to have a tougher time against fellow left-handers.

Nadal certainly played well below the standards that have brought him six titles from eight tournaments this year, making uncharacteristic mistakes and dropping his groundstrokes far too short.

Klizan, ranked 35 in the world, played well but he did not have to produce anything too special to win the first set, breaking Nadal's serve in the seventh game.

Seven-time champion Nadal also lost the first set against Daniel Brands in the opening round, but on that occasion his opponent really came out blazing.

Nadal did not turn things around until the end of the second set on Monday having been 3-0 down in a tie-break, but this time his reaction was immediate as he won four straight games.

The Spaniard was pinning his opponent to the baseline now, and although Klizan pulled one break back, Nadal avoided another wobble.

He was still not playing particularly well but it was good enough to stay ahead of Klizan, who lost to Britain's Dan Evans in Davis Cup last year but also upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the US Open.

Nadal looked in complete control when he moved 5-1 ahead in the decider but Klizan broke again when the Spaniard served for the match.

That was as far as the Slovakian's comeback went, though, and Nadal served it out at the second time of asking to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3.

Next up for the third seed is talented Italian Fabio Fognini, who put out Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol in round two.

PA

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