Nadal saves two match points on his way to victory over Pouille at China Open

04 October 2017 12:24

US Open champion Rafael Nadal saved two match points to beat Lucas Pouille in the opening round of the China Open and keep his winning run going.

This was the world number one's first match since his victory over Kevin Anderson in the final in New York last month.

It was not nearly as straightforward for Nadal this time, with the Spaniard looking rusty during the two hours and 31 minutes it took him to eventually see off Pouille 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 7-5.

The Frenchman will wonder how he did not repeat his 2016 US Open victory over Nadal.

He had two match points at 6-4 in the second-set tie-break and engineered a glorious chance to take the first on his own serve only to net a mid-court forehand.

Pouille also looked the stronger player in the decider but again could not take his chances and Nadal survived.

Grigor Dimitrov will face Juan Martin del Potro in an attractive round-two clash after both won on Tuesday.

Third seed Dimitrov defeated in-form Damir Dzumhur 6-1 3-6 6-3 while Del Potro was a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 winner against Pablo Cuevas.

Nick Kyrgios thumped Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 6-2 and there were also wins for John Isner, Tomas Berdych and Andrey Rublev.

Milos Raonic made his comeback from the wrist problem that ruled him out of the US Open with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Viktor Troicki at the Japan Open.

The Canadian has been beset with injuries in 2017, with the latest one keeping him out for nearly two months.

American Steve Johnson claimed the biggest scalp of his career with a 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 victory over second seed Dominic Thiem but countryman Sam Querrey lost 6-4 7-6 (7/2) to Richard Gasquet.

The defeat deals a potentially serious blow to Querrey's hopes of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.

Nadal was joined in the second round in Beijing by second seed Alexander Zverev, who defeated Britain's Kyle Edmund 6-3 7-6 (7/3).

Edmund served to force a decider at 5-4 in the second but Zverev broke back and played a fine tie-break.

The German faces Italy's Fabio Fognini in round two.

Source: PA