Wawrinka survives Rosol scare at French Open

 23 May 2016 - 17:46

Wawrinka survives Rosol scare at French Open
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland reacts as he plays Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic during their men's single first round match at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 23 May 2016. EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

PARIS: Defending champion Stan Wawrinka diced with danger but managed to avoid an ignominious first-round exit at the French Open on Monday, scrambling past Czech Lukas Rosol in five sets.

Twice the Swiss third seed trailed by a set on a cold and damp Philippe Chatrier Court but he dug himself out of trouble to win 4-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-4.

For a while, with 59th ranked Rosol playing inspired tennis, Wawrinka looked in grave danger of becoming the first reigning men's singles champion at Roland Garros since tennis turned professional in 1968 to lose in the first round.

The last time a defending champion lost his opening match was Australian Lew Hoad in 1957.

Wawrinka needed to save two break points early in the fourth set as Rosol eyed a shock on the similar scale to his victory over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.

From then on he managed to regain some control and a searing backhand set up an early and decisive break in the fifth set.