Nadal up and running
Originally published on 10/08/17 00:00
The Spaniard needs to reach the semi-finals to regain top spot in the rankings and he was rarely troubled in his first outing since Wimbledon. Talented teenager, Denis Shapovalov, will provide the French Open champion with his next test.
Coric had won two of his three previous encounters with Nadal, however this time his opponent was fully-fit and brimming with confidence. The Croatian is a gritty competitor but he was bullied by his illustrious rival from the outset, and he struggled just to win games.
It was a nice reintroduction into hard-court action for Nadal and he remains eager to dictate proceedings with his trusty forehand. All aspects of his game were in full working order and he looks primed and ready to challenge for the title.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Alexander Zverev became the latest player to save match-points on his way through to the next stage. In a thrilling duel with Richard Gasquet, the German emerged victorious 6-3 4-6 7-6(3).
Zverev, who captured silverware for a fourth time this season at the Citi Open last week, saved the second of three match-points in spectacular fashion. A gruelling 49 shot rally eventually went the way of the 20-year-old, and as the youngster raised his fist in defiance, Gasquet gasped for air after a lung-busting effort.
The final set tiebreak was deservedly claimed by the German as he was rewarded for his aggressive play. There was a more straightforward success for Nick Kyrgios, though, as he raced past Paolo Lorenzi 6-2 6-3 to reach the third round.