Rafael Nadal opened his summer hardcourt campaign with a grinding 7-6(12), 6-3 win over Stan Wawrinka last night in the second round of the Canadian Open Rogers Masters.
Nadal held a break lead in the first at 3-2 before Stan immediately leveled. The 14-12 tiebreaker was the longest Nadal’s ever played and he had to save five sets points from the Swiss.
“It’s never fun to play tie-breaks like this because lots of pressure in every point,” said Nadal. “But if you win, it gives you a lot of confidence, so always important win tie-breaks.
“I have a little bit of everything today being the first match after a while without competing. I had difficult moments. I had moments that I played well. I played more aggressive in the second set on the return. So I did a little bit of everything, and that’s very positive.”
If Nadal hopes to be fully 100% he’ll need to avoid matches like that one which include 90+ minute first sets and 14-12 tiebreakers!
Rusty Rafa is right back on the court tonight against the big-serving South African qualifier Kevin Anderson who knocked out Sam Querrey.
Roger Federer returns against aggressive lefty Michael Llodra. Federer looked patchy in his opener against Chela the other night, he’ll need to tighten his act up against Llodra who plays attacking tennis and quick points, a style Fed’s new coach Paul Annacone would like. Llodra and Fed have never played.
Llodra ousted Nicolas Alamgro 7-6, 6-2 on Wednesday.
Also yesterday, Jeremy Chardy took care of Fernando Verdasco in three sets. Fernando plays a lot of tennis and a lot of tournaments, might fatigue be catching up with the Spaniard? Since his Nice final in May Verdasco hasn’t reached the SFs in his last five event. Chardy now play Nikolay Davydenko.
David Nalbandian won his 10th straight match demolishing former Top 10 Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-0.
In the match of the day, Nalbandian meets Robin Soderling. The Argentine is 5-1 against Robin but they haven’t played since 2008. Soderling is a much better player now and should provide a telling test of Nalbandian’s form.
We have a Gael Monfils sighting. Unfortunately my man Monfils will have his hands full against defending champion Andy Murray this afternoon. Murray looked pretty good in a win over Xavier Malisse and he’s beaten the hyper Frenchman in two of three meetings.
“The first match for anyone in any tournament is always difficult, and you don’t normally feel that comfortable,” said Murray. “Once I got that break [at 5-4], I settled down a bit.”
And on grandstand former champion Novak Djokovic battles Victor Hanescu. Djokovic won a tough straight setter yesterday over Julien Benneteau, let’s see what he has left in the reserves against the Romanian who he has never lost to in four meetings.
“It was a big struggle,” Djokovic said. “It was obvious that on the court I wasn’t feeling the best, but I overcame it. It was nothing unusual, just little heat issues that I have, but life goes on. I won another match, and usually when you win the tough [opening match], now I get more confidence and hopefully I can be ready for the next challenge.”
ESPN2 begins TV coverage today in the US starting at 1pm.
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  R Soderling (SWE)
Not Before 1:00 PM
M Llodra (FRA) vs  R Federer (SUI)
 A Murray (GBR) vs  G Monfils (FRA)
Not Before 7:30 PM
 R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] K Anderson (RSA)
R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) vs  M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 T Berdych (CZE) vs O Dolgopolov (UKR)
 N Davydenko (RUS) vs J Chardy (FRA)
Not Before 2:30 PM
P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [Q] Y Lu (TPE)
Not Before 5:00 PM
V Hanescu (ROU) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 6:30 PM
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs M Knowles (BAH) / R Stepanek (CZE)
Also Check Out:
Un-Fit Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Toronto
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Toronto
Safina Drops Ball, Chance for No. 1 Ranking at Indian Wells
Roger Federer Wins Epic Olympic Marathon, Will Play For Gold On Sunday; Withdraws From Toronto
2014 N. American Hardcourt Schedules: Where Will Federer, Nadal And Djokovic Be This Summer?