Spain’s Rafa Nadal still in the game at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal came from behind for the second match in a row Friday at the French Open, surviving another shaky start to beat Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Entering the tournament, seven-time champion Nadal had lost only 14 sets in 53 matches at the French Open. Now he has lost the opening set in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Nadal dropped one set in the entire tournament en route to a record seventh Roland Garros title.

Forced to wait a day to play because of rain, Nadal lost serve four times and needed nearly three hours to reach the third round. When Klizan’s final shot sailed out, Nadal gave the cheering crowd a relieved thumbs-up and managed a weak smile.

“I started a bit too defensive,” he said. “I improved a little bit during the match.”

Nadal also lost the first set of his opening match against Daniel Brands and was down 3-love in the second-set tiebreaker before he rallied.

The Spaniard, now 54-1 at the French Open, seeks to become first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event. Since returning in February from a seven-month layoff because of knee trouble, he’s 38-2, reaching the finals at all eight tournaments he has entered and winning six.

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