This content was published 10 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Rafa Nadal edged Gilles Simon in a three-hour thriller on Centre court.
It took a total of three hours and 18 minutes to separate these two who gave it their all at Foro Italico.
With Nadal coming away with a 7-6 6-7 6-2 triumph.
The world no.1 was made to work for the first set, which eventually went to a tiebreak and he held his nerve.
After wrestling control back off Simon the Spaniard showed his class in the showdown playing some almost-impossible shots.
It took an hour and 11 minutes until the first set was decided, but it was worth it to gain the psychological advantage over the Frenchman at the opposite end of the court.
And Simon looked rocked heading into the second set as he struggled with Nadal sailing into a 3-0 lead before somehow the challenger was back in it.
Nadal didn’t have it all his own way either as Simon broke to claw his way to 3-2 before drawling level at 3-3.
The second set also headed into a tie break, but this time it was Simon who took the game on with some huge forehands from the baseline.
Nadal broke early in the third set to give him a boost at 2-1 and he was soon back in the driving seat as he made his way into the third round.
“The conditions were difficult, it was very cold and the ball didn’t bounce a lot,” said a relieved Nadal afterwards.
“It was a tough moment in the second set, but this was the first match on the clay where I had to suffer, mentally and physically.
“I was not playing bad and I am happy to have dealt with that kind of anxiety. I looked forward to play the third set because these are the matches that gives me more satisfaction, the ones that test you deeply. I did it and I am very happy.
“Gilles played great, he has all the ingredients to play well. Tonight the bounces were lower, there was a lot of wind, he has the topspin. I think I did little bit better than him in the first set. In my opinion he played great, especially when he was losing he made some great shots.
“It was a positive match in lot of ways and it’s important now that I recover for tomorrow.”