Nadal struggles through in five-set win over Isner
Paris: Champion Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out all the stops as he battled back to beat John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open first round on Tuesday, his first five-set match at Roland Garros.
The Spanish world number one is gunning for his sixth title in seven years but struggled to cope with the giant American, made famous by his 11-hour epic match against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon last year.
Isner almost went down in the record books again for a feat just as amazing having dominated the two tiebreaks but Nadal found another gear to pull away and quieten a restless crowd who had sensed a massive shock.
Nadal next meets compatriot Pablo Andujar.