Nadal begins Rogers Cup defense, beats Evans

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Rafael Nadal came back from a 5-2 deficit in a first-set tiebreak to take a 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over Brit Daniel Evans on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Nadal, the top seed and defending champion, fought off two set points and won six of the final seven points in the tiebreak to take the first set. Nadal broke Evans’ serve at 3-3 in the second set and then cruised to victory.

The 33-year-old Spaniard is attempting to win his 35th ATP Masters 1000 title. He has four Rogers Cup championships: 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2018.

Wednesday’s contest was Nadal’s first match since losing to Roger Federer in the semifinals at Wimbledon last month. Nadal must reach the final in Montreal to retain his No. 2 ranking when the next world standings are released on Monday. If not, Federer will take over as No. 2.

It’s only the second tournament for Nadal since he won his 12th French Open title, and it took him some time on Wednesday to shake off the effects of his inactivity. He missed some early shots, allowing Evans to take a 3-1 lead before Nadal regrouped during a brief rain delay.

Evans was vying for his first win against a Top 5 player — he’s now 0-5 — and is 3-8 in his career against Top 10 players.

On Thursday, Nadal will face Guido Pella of Argentina, a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2) winner over Moldovan Radu Albot.

In other action Wednesday, 14th seed Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Australian John Millman 6-3, 6-4.

–Field Level Media

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