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PARIS, May 27 (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal was forced to dig deep into his near bottomless resolve to salvage a 4-6 7-6 6-4 6-3 first round win against Germany's Daniel Brands on Monday that had threatened to turn nasty for the seven-times French Open champion.
The Spaniard who has lost only once in eight years at Roland Garros, was a set and 3-0 down in the second-set tiebreak before finally subduing the 59th ranked Brands.
Playing his first grand slam match since crashing out of last year's Wimbledon to lowly ranked Czech Lukas Rosol, history threatened to repeat itself as Brands, who had never won a match at Roland Garros in four attempts, dictated the early stages.
Nadal, down to fourth in the rankings after seven months out injured, broke in the first game of both the third and fourth sets to wrestle back control of the match. (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Pritha Sarkar)