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Rafa Reacts To Brands' Power Play

Paris, France

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal celebrates a hard-fought win at Roland Garros on Monday.

Rafael Nadal had never lost the first set of his opening match in eight previous appearances at Roland Garros.

On Monday, Daniel Brands broke that record. 

Nadal, the seven-time champion, expressed his relief after coming through “a really tough match” 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 54 minutes. Read Match Report

“I didn't have the fortune to play because he was trying to hit every ball as hard as he could. From the first ball, there was no point during the match that I felt that I had the time [to think], ‘I'm going to prepare. I'm going to play a point where I'm going to hit one ball here, one ball here [and] one ball here.’

“I started the match playing okay, but I got a little bit nervous when I didn't get the break at 4-3, 15/40 [in the first set]. He was serving great during the whole match and hitting the first ball fantastic every time.”

Nadal refused to compare Brands performance to his loss to Lukas Rosol in June last year at Wimbledon. “I think it was a different situation,” said Nadal. “Rosol played the fifth set unbelievably I think. I would never have won that fifth set the way he played.”

In 54 matches at the Paris major, Nadal has only been extended to five sets on one occasion. Two years ago, he beat John Isner 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.

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