Nadal lifts 22nd straight Paris victory as title hunt begins
Rafael Nadal started his quest for an historic fourth consecutive trophy at the French Open on Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 first-round defeat of Thomaz Bellucci, the dpa reported.
The Spanish second seed claimed his 22nd straight match at Roland Garros, but not before putting down a first-set rebellion from the number 76 qualifier making a Grand Slam debut.
Nadal won the tight opener before finding his rhythm for a move into the second round in two hours, 34 minutes on a clear day in Paris. "It's always tough to win these matches," said the Spaniard. "He came from qualifying and had won three matches in a row. I had to work hard."
Nadal is a tempting target very time he steps onto the court on clay after losing just five times on the surface since August, 2004.
He has won 21 clay titles, the most for any active player.