Montreal, August 8: Rafael Nadal came through a testing start to his Rogers Cup defence to defeat Dan Evans 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in between the Montreal rain on Wednesday (August 7).
Nadal, playing for the first time since his Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Roger Federer, has not claimed a hard-court title since this tournament last year.
His troubles looked as though they might continue in spectacular fashion when he lost his serve in the opening game of the match, while he also fell behind in the tie-break to decide the opening set.
But world number two Nadal came roaring back - the stop-start nature of the contest due to rain scarcely slowing his progress - and will now face Radu Albot or Guido Pella in the third round.
Nadal made an extremely sloppy start, going long as he attacked with the forehand at break point on his own serve to slip behind.
There was not another point against the serve until the sixth game, but then Nadal finally outmanoeuvred Evans, drawing him out wide and capitalising to level the set.
Evans staved off a pair of set points as the opener continued in entertaining fashion until rain intervened to force the players off court.
The half-hour stoppage seemed to suit Evans as he cruised into a tie-break and zipped a backhand over the net for the first mini-break, initially protecting his advantage to set up two set points.
But sublime work from Nadal swept Evans aside to cancel out the deficit and, with the Briton under pressure for the first time, a wayward effort put the Spanish great in front.
Nadal came out flying at the start of the second, recording a dominant break before further rain halted proceedings once more.
Evans again looked to be boosted by the delay and Nadal blasted into the net to see his break wiped out, albeit his response was swift and decisive.
Evans was worn down and Nadal led once more, this time protecting his advantage to the belated finish, four and a half hours after the start time.