TORONTO: Rafael Nadal was made to wait before his second-round Rogers Cup match due to several rain delays but did his part to put the schedule back on track with a speedy 6-2, 6-3 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire on Wednesday.
World number one Nadal, who kicked off the evening session a little over an hour after its original start time, had some issues with his serve later in the match but still needed only 74 minutes to secure his spot in the third round. Nadal won the event in 2005, 2008 and 2013.
Nadal will face Stan Wawrinka in the round-of-16 after the Swiss rallied to beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (12-10).
In earlier action, a solid-serving Novak Djokovic kept his bid for a fifth Rogers Cup title alive with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky.
The ninth-seeded Serb, competing in his first tournament since his Wimbledon triumph last month, won a dominant 83 percent of his first service points and wrapped up the day’s opening match minutes before the first of several rain delays.
Next up for Djokovic in the round-of-16 is Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas, who upset Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
A win for Djokovic would set up a potential quarter-final clash with German second seed Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the third round after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Bradley Klahn.
Wimbledon semi-finalist John Isner defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 and fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa edged Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0).
Two generations of local players split the difference with Milos Raonic, 27, heading out while teenaged gun Denis Shapovalov moved on.
American Frances Tiafoe beat Raonic 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-1 in a match hit by a weather interruption of more than two and a half hours.
Teenaged prodigy Shapovalov eliminated Italian 14th seed Fabio Fognini winner last weekend in Los Cabos, 6-3, 7-5.
Also advancing to the third round were fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, sixth seed Marin Cilic, and Russian Karen Khachanov, who upset Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busto 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Ilya Ivashka of Belarus topped American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Third seed Juan Martin del Potro was forced to withdraw prior to his opening match due to a left wrist injury.
Del Potro, who had a bye in the first round after reaching the Los Cabos final last week, was set to play Robin Haase of the Netherlands. Haase instead played Mikhail Youzhny, beating the Russian 7-5, 6-2.
PLISKOVA, KERBER UPSET
In the women’s event in Montreal, the punishing serve that propelled Karolina Pliskova to the top of the tennis world last year proved ineffective against Kiki Bertens as the Dutchwoman cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
The ninth-seeded Czech failed to record a single ace in the second-round battle but committed eight double faults and was broken seven times by the defensive-minded Bertens.
Bertens will next meet eighth-seed Petra Kvitova, who advanced past Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round battle on Tuesday.
Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber came crashing back to earth after she beat Serena Williams in the grasscourt final last month, falling 6-4, 6-1 to Alize Cornet of France.
The fourth-seeded German committed 32 errors to help Cornet reach the third round, where she will face Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 in her second-round match.
Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was forced to retire from her second-round match against fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina with the score 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 4-3 after she suffered a right ankle injury.
The unseeded Maria Sharapova made quick work of fellow Russian Daria Kasatkina during their first meeting with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win and will face sixth seed Caroline Garcia of France in the third round.
Third-seeded Sloane Stephens thrashed 21-year-old Francoise Abanda, dispatching the Canadian 6-0, 6-2 in 80 minutes.
Qualifier Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, a former top-10 player, got past Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 3-2 when her Ukrainian opponent retired in the second set. Suarez Navarro will face Stephens.
Rain forced two late matches to be halted, with top seed Simona Halep trailing Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-3, and British number one Johanna Konta leading Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 3-0.
Second-seeeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, and No. 13 Venus Williams never started their second-round matches.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2018