Nadal saves 2 match points, advances at China Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks at the umpire after falling on the court during his men's singles match against Lucas Pouille of France in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Lucas Pouille of France reacts after losing a point to Rafael Nadal of Spain during men's singles match in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after defeating her compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in their women's singles match in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING — Rafael Nadal needed to save two match points before advancing to the second round at the China Open.

The top-ranked Spaniard, playing for the first time since winning the U.S. Open title last month, rallied to beat Lucas Pouille 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 Tuesday.

Pouille held two match points while leading 6-4 in the second-set tiebreaker. But Nadal reeled off four straight points to take the set and turn the match around.

"Was a very tough first round, as I say the other day," said Nadal, who lost to Pouille in five sets at the 2016 U.S. Open. "He played well, I think. Very aggressive. He's serving well. For me was little bit difficult at the beginning. Then I started to play better, I think.

"But still, I didn't have the control of the match for almost all the time."

In the final set, Nadal broke Pouille's serve to take a 6-5 lead and then served out the match.

Nadal is 57-9 this season and leads the tour with five ATP singles titles, including the French Open. He won the China Open title as a teenager in 2005 and has a 21-5 record in Beijing. He next plays Thursday against Karen Khachanov, who beat Chinese wild-card entry Wu Di.

Earlier, Juan Martin del Potro advanced by beating Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (4), 6-4.

"It was enough to win. I play good in important moments of the match, that's the tiebreaks and the last game of the second set," said the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who returned to professional tennis last year after wrist surgery.

Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, sixth-seeded John Isner, eighth-seeded Nick Kyrgios and Leonardo Mayer also advanced.

In the women's tournament, Maria Sharapova rallied to defeat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

"She definitely picked it up in the second. But I felt like although she won that second set, I was really motivated to start the third," Sharapova said. "I was questioning how I would feel physically, but I felt really good going into the third set."

The former top-ranked Russian will next face second-seeded Simona Halep on Wednesday.

"We know each other's games very well. That's no secret. They've always been very challenging, tough, competitive, emotional," Sharapova said. "Any time you're able to face an opponent that's done something and well, it's great to see where you are and where your level is."

Halep advanced after Magdalena Rybarikova retired from their match while trailing 6-1, 2-1.

Other winners include Karolina Pliskova, Elena Vesnina, Petra Kvitova, Daria Gavrilova, Sorana Cirstea, Darla Kasatkina and Barbora Strycova.

People also read these

Nadal, Federer cruise into Shanghai Masters...

Oct 12, 2017

Rafael Nadal has won his 14th consecutive match to reach the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals,...

Del Potro goes for scan after wrist hurt in fall...

Oct 13, 2017

Rafael Nadal has tied Andre Agassi for sixth place on the list of all-time Open Era wins by...

Pavlyuchenkova, Gavrilova advance to Hong Kong...

Oct 13, 2017

The highest ranked player left in the Hong Kong Open, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia has beaten...

China media dominated by Xi, reinforcing image as...

Oct 26, 2017

Newspapers, TV and magazines are dominated in images of President Xi Jinping, reinforcing his...

Fiji crushes NZ 50-7 to roll into Hong Kong 7s...

Apr 7, 2018

Fiji has crushed New Zealand 50-7 to complete pool play unbeaten at the Hong Kong Sevens

Sign up now!

Advertisement