Defending champion Rafael Nadal took the first set of his French Open final with fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Nadal won the set 6-3.
The pair each comfortably held their service games to start, but in the third game, Nadal won the first of his two break points when Ferrer hit a forehand wide. Ferrer broke right back, taking his second break point during a 20-shot rally that ended when Nadal hit a backhand into the net.
Serving at 3-3, Ferrer got back two break points, but then gave Nadal another that the defending champion took with a forehand passing shot. Nadal held and then broke to take the set.
Nadal is going for his 12th Grand Slam championship. He is four months into a comeback to the men’s tour following a long injury break. After a shock second round loss at Wimbledon, the 27- year-old left-hander was sidelined with a partially torn patella tendon and inflammation in his left knee that forced him to miss the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.
Should he win, Nadal will have eight singles titles in Paris, surpassing seven other men who have won seven major championships at one event. These include Roger Federer and Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in the last two decades, Bill Tilden at what was then called the U.S. Championships in the 1920s and William Renshaw at Wimbledon in in the 1880s. Retired American Chris Evert and Nadal are the only players to hold seven Roland Garros championships.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at firstname.lastname@example.org