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Rogers Cup 2018: Rafael Nadal breezes into the third round

Varun Khanna
09 Aug 2018, 15:46 IST

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Rafa in red, similar to Spanish Olympic team t-shirt, celebrating his victory in Toronto

World number one Rafael Nadal started his Rogers Cup 2018 campaign in Toronto after eight years with a solid straight-sets victory over the Frenchman Benoit Paire, with the scoreline being 6-2,,6-3. Nadal was in complete control on Wednesday night, extending his head-to-head to 4-0 over the Frenchman.

The long wait to watch Rafael Nadal to play on the Aviva Centre in Toronto was not over as heavy rains delayed the match by about an hour. The fans came in full support for the Mallorcan as he played his first match in the North American ATP event after 2010. The 25-second shot clock rule also didn't trouble Nadal, playing his first match with this new rule.

Nadal started the match with an early break in the second game with Paire stumbling, hitting the forehand into the net and thrashing his racket in frustration. Nadal then went on to win the first set 6-2 quite easily breaking Paire for the second time.

The start of the second set was identical as the first set, with Nadal breaking Paire for a lead of 2-0. Nadal then lost his concentration and things got different as his serve was broken for the first time in the match. There were 5 consecutive breaks of Nadal and Paire's serves with the scoreline of 4-3, after which Nadal thought to wrap up things, winning the next two games consequently.

The Spaniard was satisfied with his performance as it was his first singles match on hard court since the Australian Open in January this year as he stated, "I think I played a solid match," before adding, "But I feel that of course I was not at my 100 percent today."

The 32-time ATP Masters 1000 champion won all the nine sets against the 55th rank Benoit Paire, who is having a downfall as he was fined for $16,500 for breaking rackets last week in Washington. The 29-year-old Paire had his moments with his big serves and winners, but couldn't match the World No. 1.

The three-time Rogers Cup champion (2005, 2008, 2013; 2005 and 2013 in Montreal) will now face the Swiss No. 2 Stan Wawrinka in the third round. Wawrinka won a very tough first round match against Nick Kyrgios and saved four match points against a tricky opponent, Marton Fucsovics and before winning 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(10).

The 17-time Grand Slam champion leads the Head-to-Head 16-3 against Stan. Nadal is targeting his fifth title of the season and has a 36-3 win-loss record this year while Stan will be targeting his comeback as his ATP ranking has dropped to 195.

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