PARIS (AP) Defending champion Stan Wawrinka got off to a shaky start at the French Open, surviving five tough sets to beat Lukas Rosol 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 Monday in the first round.
Struggling against his Czech opponent on Court Philippe Chatrier, Wawrinka was at risk of becoming the first defending champion ever to lose in the first round at Roland Garros.
Ranked 59th, Rosol had never beaten Wawrinka - or even taken a set off him - in four previous encounters. But he took the match to the third-seeded Swiss player with frequent forays to the net and a broad array of accurate strokes.
On a day that started with a rain delay of more than 2 1/2 hours, Rosol broke Wawrinka in the fifth game of the first set with a drop shot that died on the rain-dampened red clay.
With the crowd wrapped in heavy coats against the unusually chill May weather, Wawrinka steadied himself in the second set, but the shift in momentum was brief. Rosol came out for the third set with a fresh shirt and jumped out to 3-0 lead. He had a break point for 4-0 but he failed to convert.
Once Wawrinka saved a pair of break points in the fourth set, the match shifted back to the defending champion.
In the final set, a backhand passing shot down the line earned a roar from the crowd and a break point that Wawrinka converted for a 2-1 lead and, eventually, the match.