PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Simone Bolelli despite rain delay at Roland Garros

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal survived a mini-crisis to rack up his 80th win at Roland Garros on Tuesday as the 10-time champion defeated Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9) to reach the second round.

Rafa had been two sets up but 0-3 down in the third when rain caused the tie to be suspended late Monday. He quickly levelled at 3-3 on Tuesday, saved four break points in the eighth game before saving four set points. Rafa eventually claimed the match on a third match point when Bolelli dumped a forehand into the net.

After the match, Rafa said:

I really suffered today but it was a good test.

It was a very difficult match. Simone played very well, very aggressively. He had a lot of chances in the third set.

But I am happy to have won here on this court, the most important of my career.

Our champ next faces Guido Pella for a place in the last 32.

Source: AFP

31 comments

  1. Rafa,you must get the level of your game up and up….if you want to win 11.Stop “suffering “,start playing more aggressive and your first serve…please…a lot of improvement needed there.Please,do your homework and start playing the way that only you can play. Vamos

  2. Good luck to next one! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€Vamos!

  3. What has happened to Rafa’s first serve? This was the worst I’ve seen it. Plus, having to do so many second serves only emphasized how long he is taking each time. More first serves = less endless seconds spent. I love Rafa to pieces, but the length of time he takes is getting excruciating. What is he going to do when they use the shot clock at the US Open?

    First service percentage has got to improve, or he is just going to make life harder for himself.

  4. Rafa’s “mini crisis” was his nervousness upon facing a real challenge in Bolelli.

    I was glad he won in three sets and knew he could do it. I’ve seen him climb out of being sets down.

    What bothers me is how nervous Rafa becomes when he encounters a tough opponent. And I feel maybe this nervousness keeps him from thinking straight in order to strategize.

    Yes, this was a tough match which I thought would be easy until I saw how well Bolelli was playing. The competition made for a very good match. Bolelli didn’t just roll over. But neither did Rafa. He played to win.

    Six more to go for champion Nadal. All the best.

    RAFA ROCKS

  5. Retire? Blasphemy!

    Rafa said he will retire when he no longer has the passion to play, win or lose. He will play as long as he is able to be competitive. He will play until he doesn’t feel like getting on the practice court any longer.

    Rafa loves the crowded stadiums and hearing the cheering of his fans. He is not about to abandon that.

    Rafa will retire when he feels like calling it a day and not before. Selfish me hopes he keeps playing for years to come so I can continue to follow his incredible career.

    RAFA ROCKS

  6. RAFA CONGRATULTIONS. VAMOSSSSSSSSSSSS CHAMP.๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿ†

  7. O May it was so close in the 3 set ,my nerves was so bad .bat My Champ Rafa came true to the end vamossssssssssssssss you can do it love and good luck for the next much.congrats .๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพโค๏ธ ๐ŸŽพ

  8. Yes, Moya must do something about Rafaโ€™s serve and also his nerves – so that he can play an attacking game and think strategically and constructively. Also, he can play beautifully at the net so probably could try to come in more nd vary his game.
    I wish you, Rafa, and your whole team all the very best in everyway for the tournament and always.

    ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€ VAMOS

    • Quite often when the serve is down so much, it unfortunately is a sign of a physical problem….

  9. Congratulation with the victory sweetheart ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ <3 <3

    Vamos ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ <3 :<3

  10. Good Rafa! Happy to see you in round 2. Didnโ€™t want it to go further than 3 sets!
    Hope u get thru easily in the next matches!

    Love u!!!

    VAMOS

  11. Yes, very difficult match, but still a straight sets win. Somehow, I don’t get too excited about Rafa’s 1st round matches (as long as he wins, of course!) since they always seem to be difficult. I expect his play to pick up during the next couple of matches.

  12. I think Moya has to do something to fix Rafa ‘s serve and he needs to act quickly.
    Rafa’s first serve percentage has been dropping since the beginning of clay swing. He couldn’t create enough pressure to step in the court for a forehand winner.
    As much as i concern, Rafa will probably have a very very i mean very tough match against Diego Schwartzman if he continues playing at this level.

    Or else, it should be a cakewalk to the 17th heaven.

  13. Sorry, my iPad played some few tricks on me.

    Roland Garros and not Roland Harris.

    Also, I meant to say ” the likes of Rafa, Novak and Roger.”

    Thank you

    But, as always, we’d see…….

  14. Thanks god the match was over in three sets. All the best for the next round. Vamos Rafa <3

  15. Rafa was soooo lucky, though he deservingly won at the end. It is not always easy to defeat a champions of the likes of Rafa, Novak & Djokovic because they carry all the champions’ luck & aura with them. That explains why many a times when they play badly, they still manage to win. They only lose when they play against themselves.

    Simone Bolleli finally woke up in the 3rd set and started playing like the journeyman he was/is. That is, taking high risk and with nothing to lose. IHe was playing so dangerously that another replay of Fernando Verdasco vs Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2016 round one match was about to happen! Had he won the 3rd set, the greatest disaster in tennis would likely have happened. But thank God good, old Rafa was able to restore order.

    My fears for Rafa were later confirmed at the post match interview when Rafa himself confessed that it was a ” difficult match”. As good as Rafa’s game is, his archives heel is still poor court coverage which exposes him to cross court winners and drop shot. Had Bolleli played with the shot making precision of Novak (in his hey days) he provably would have taken Rafa out.

    We are relieved and happy that Rafa won. He did not expect to play so aggressively from the get go in round one. He characteristically likes to build up tempo progressively as the matches wear on. Hence his one-match-at-a-time philosophy which is really working for him. Bolleli probably knew this and thus tried line, hook and sinker to destroy Rafa’s well-known strategy. It had worked perfectly for Fernando at AO 2016 Round 1.

    If Nasal does win his 11th Roland Harris (as we all want him to achieve ), I honestly think he should immediately consider retiring from Tennis. He has created records that it would probably take the next ten generations of tennis players to beat. That is the year 3018 if we assume a generation is equivalent to 100 years. He should not be tempted to start chasing after equalling or surpassing Roger Federer’s 20 GS record.

    Rafa should retire for good after winning this 11th Roland Harris for the sakebof posterity and to preserve his unbeatable career win- loss record. The more he continues to play now, the more likely he is to lose or worst still, the more likely hebis to suffer an upset to a lucky loser, a wild card in the early rounds. This would despoil all his recordsvas we now see happening to Venus Williams amongst others who have refused to quit when the ovation was loudest.

    A word is enough for thebwise.

    But, as always, we”d see………hmmmn

    • I disagree Maria. It’s not about the number of RG titles. Rafa should play for as long as he is fit and has the hunger for the sport. If he matches or surpasses Roger”s GS tota, then great. Rafa loves tennis and has said on numerous occasions that his hunger for competition is what motivates him and when he no longer has that then it’s time to stop. I think Rafa will know himself when it’s time to quit.

    • Maria Troll Island. What a ridiculous comment. True champions fight until the end just as Rafa fought through pain and injury and the media retiring him only to rise to the very top again. Borg retired so he could stay at the top – he did not want to lose to JMc. This has marred his legacy not enhanced it. Rafa is the ultimate fighter in sports – widely thought of as ‘the greatest competitor the world has ever seen in any sport’. This is why people love him because he will put himself on the line time and time again. He will not take the cowards way out – he will go down fighting. This is what hurts you – you desperately want him to retire – sad sad you. You cannot alter his legacy with your pathetic words. You are nought but a silly Fedfan hater – go do something positive with your life.

  16. Great strikeback Rafa!

    Coming back from 0-40 down said a lot. And so did saving those set points as well.

    Keep going champ, well done today!

  17. Rafa beat Bolelli in straight sets but that does tell the full story. Bolelli pushed Rafa all the way, right up to the last couple of strokes in the 3rd set tie breaker. As Rafa himself said ” I really suffered today.”
    Well Rafa so did we, your fans.!!
    Rafa is notorious for coming back to win tight matches. His determination knows no bounds. But I fear he will have to improve his first serve percentage if he wants to lift his 11th Roland Garros trophy. His first serve today was a concern. His saving grace was that he had less unforced errors than his opponent which is as usual for him.
    I adore Rafa both as a person and as a player and will always support him , win or lose.
    But to lift trophy number 11 in Paris would be ( as numbers 1 to 10 have been) a testament to Rafa’s dedication and committment to the sport he loves.

    • Rafa was only serving at 57% so there is a lot to improve. Bolelli played out of his mind, and the commentators could not believe some of the shots he made. I worry that Rafa has been made too much of a favorite here. I know Rafa takes it match by match. I still remember the five set opening match that Rafa almost lost to Isner. I am almost certain that Rafa will player better against Pella.

  18. much tighter than the score suggests. Far to close for my liking. Hope he gets through the next without me biting any more nails off. Nearly down to the bone!

  19. VAMOS SWEETHEART & CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

  20. You were fantastic Rafa! Bolelli plays very well, but you are the King๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ Good luck!๐Ÿ˜˜

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