Rafael Nadal begins bid for 8th French Open title by beating German Daniel Brands in 4 sets

Rafael Nadal survived an early scare and successfully began his bid for an eighth French Open title by rallying past Daniel Brands of Germany, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3.

Nadal, who had lost only 14 sets in 53 previous matches at Roland Garros, fell behind when he was broken in the ninth game and was on the verge of digging a deeper hole Monday. He trailed 3-0 in the tiebreaker, then summoned his best shot-making to salvage the set and soon was in control.

The Spaniard, who won a record seventh French Open title last year, improved to 53-1 at Roland Garros. He's 37-2 since returning in February after a seven-month layoff because of a left knee injury, reaching the finals at all eight previous tournaments he played this year and winning six.