Rafael Nadal fends off spirited Bolleli as Serena Williams returns

World number one, Rafael Nadal had to fight off a spirited display from Italian lucky loser, Simone Bolleli to reach the second round of the French Open in Paris.

The match, which was suspended on Monday due to rain, resumed on Tuesday with Nadal 3-0 down in the third set. The Spaniard would rally back before being forced to a tiebreak by the resilient Bolleli. Nadal, however, did well to seal a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) victory.

Nadal will play Argentina’s Guido Pella in the second round.

Elsewhere, third-seeded Croat, Marin Cilic, who’s a finalist in two of the past three Grand Slams, outlasted Australia’s James Duckworth 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-4), while Juan Martin del Potro overcame a slow start to edge Nicolas Mahut 1-6 6-1 6-2 6-4.

In the women’s draw, 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams returned to Grand Slam action for the first time in 16 months with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova in the first round.

Serena Williams in action against Kristyna Pliskova of Czech Republic. Williams purposefully donned a catsuit.

It was Serena Williams’ first match on clay since 2016.

“Two years is a long time but I’ve trained hard on this surface,” Williams, who’s a three-time French Open champion, said.

“I’m so glad to win a match here and I’m taking it one day at a time.”

Williams will face Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the second round on Thursday.

Also, Russia’s Maria Sharapova defeated Richel Hogenkamp 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, while Germany’s Angelique Kerber registered a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over her countrywoman, Mona Barthel

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