Rafael Nadal excelled when he needed to most, winning the final two sets against John Isner on Tuesday to advance to the second round at the French Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The five-time champion, who improved to 39-1 at Roland Garros, played a five-set match at Roland Garros for the first time in seven visits.
“Tough, tough moments for me,” Nadal said. “I played too nervous, in my opinion.”
Nadal last lost a set at the French Open in 2009, when he was eliminated by Robin Soderling in the fourth round. He had never previously dropped a set in the first or second round.
The top-seeded Nadal is trying to equal Bjorn Borg’s record of six French Open titles.