French Open: Rafael Nadal beats stubborn Pablo Andujar

Rafael Nadal
Nadal has won the French Open five times and is the current defending champion

World number one Rafael Nadal had to dig deep once again to see off the challenge of compatriot Pablo Andujar in the French Open second round.

In a match that lasted over three hours, the defending Roland Garros champion triumphed 7-5 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Nadal again had to show the battling qualities that helped him beat John Isner over five sets in round one.

He next faces Croatian Antonio Veic, who beat Russian 28th seed Nikolay Davydenko 3-6 6-2 7-5 3-6 6-1.

Nadal will be hoping for an improved showing against the qualifier than the unconvincing one he gave against Andujar, who exploited some vulnerabilities in the top seed's game, especially on the world number one's serve.

Nadal seized the initiative on Court Suzanne Lenglen by breaking Andujar in game six, only for this to prove to be the first of four straight breaks of serve.

The set appeared to be heading for a tie-break until a series of unforced errors from Andujar allowed five-time Roland Garros champion Nadal to win game 12 to love and take the lead.

Andujar, aiming to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time, again gave as good as he got in the second set, hitting back from 0-2 down to level at 2-2.

Nadal went 5-3 up when Andujar put a weak forehand into the net and he then served out the set, but not before having to save three break points.

The first break of the third set went Andujar's way as he slammed in a cross-court winner to take a 3-1 lead, which he firstly consolidated on his own serve before breaking again to give him a superb chance of getting himself back into the match.

But Nadal scrapped back from the brink, saving four set points in game seven to get a break back and then surviving three further set points in the following game.

With the physical and mental effort starting to take its toll on Andujar, Nadal broke again and held his own serve, after staving off two more set points, to level the set at 5-5.

In the ensuing tie-break, Andujar gave it his all, fighting back from 5-1 down to 5-4, but when he fluffed an easy drop shot at the net with Nadal beaten, his chances of extending the match to a fourth set evaporated.

Also on Thursday, fifth seed Robin Soderling made it through to round three after beating Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos 6-3 6-4 6-4 but eighth seed Jurgen Melzer was stunned 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 by Czech world number 111 Lukas Rosol.

Number 16 seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 and 10th seeded American Mardy Fish recorded a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-1 win over Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

But eighth seed Jurgen Melzer is out after Czech Lukas Rosol beat him 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

There were also defeats for seeded duo Florian Mayer of Germany and American Sam Querrey.

Colombian Alejandro Falla beat 20th seed Mayer 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-2, while Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia saw off Querrey courtesy of a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 scoreline.

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