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Nadal Shakes Off Wimbledon Hangover; Safin Wins & Loses

Toronto, Canada

Marat Safin© Getty ImagesMarat Safin

After a sluggish start, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal powered through to the Rogers Cup third round after defeating American qualifier Jesse Levine 6-4, 6-2 Wednesday in Toronto. Playing his first match since defeating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, Nadal was slow out of the blocks.

In the opening set, Levine took advantage of a supportive crowd (he was born in Canada) by breaking Nadal in the fourth game to go up 3-1. Leading 4-1, Levine failed to convert two break point chances for a 5-1 lead, and then saw the Spaniard win the next five games to take the set 6-4.

Nadal found his form in the second set to capitalize on an early break in the third game. Following his early lead, the five-time Grand Slam champion was able to close out the match after saving all four break points he faced in the second set.

“It’s not easy to play the first round, especially after Wimbledon. I didn’t have much practice so it’s was a tough start," Nadal said. "Right now I am just continuing to try and improve my hard court season.”

Nadal, who looks likely to replace Federer as ATP World No. 1 before the end of the US Open, extended his winning streak to 25 matches.

In the round of 16 Nadal will face Russian Igor Andreev, who took out Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 after facing just one break point in the match.

Despite the loss, Levine said he was better for the experience. “This definitely gives me some confidence that I can play with the big boys and I can hold my own out there.” he said, “I’m really looking forward to the hard court tournaments coming up.”

Marat Safin defeated Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-3 in his rain-delayed first-round match and then suited up later in the night for his second match of the day against Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka won that battle 6-3, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko saved both break points he faced in a 6-3, 7-6(6) win over German Tommy Haas. Fifth-seed Spaniard David Ferrer dropped just six points on his first serve and didn't face a break point in his 6-4, 6-4 win over American Robby Ginepri.

Seventh seed James Blake rallied from a heavy first-set loss to defeat veteran Swede Jonas Bjorkman 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.






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