Spanish great Rafael Nadal struggled to get comfortable again on the Wimbledon grass following a three-year absence, but he raised his level late in the match to defeat Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance to the second round.

Nadal jumped out to an early lead at 3-1 in the first set before the 41st-ranked Cerundolo got back on serve and then earned three break points with the world No. 4 serving at 4-4.

But the two-time champion at the All England Club and winner of a record 22 Grand Slam men's singles titles once against showed his nerves of steel under pressure, rallying to win that game and then clinch the first set with a break in the following game.

Nadal then seemed to have the match totally under control when he won the second set comfortably and then broke for a 2-1 lead in the third set.

The Argentine started dictating more of the rallies at that juncture, however, to get back on serve and then take a 5-3 lead when the Spaniard dumped a backhand in the net.