ATP Tour

Nadal subdues Janowicz

Rafael Nadal (AFP)
Rafael Nadal (AFP)

Montreal - Rafael Nadal has survived a scare from Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz before reaching the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 win on Thursday.

Fourth seed Nadal, playing his first event in seven weeks since losing in the first round at Wimbledon to Belgian Steve Darcis, had to fight to get the job done in one and three-quarter hours against the feisty Polish 15th seed.

The win was a major contrast to Nadal's opening match, where he lost just two games against Canada's Jesse Levine.

Nadal, the French Open champion and with seven titles in 2013, has now won 45 matches since his return in February from a seven-month injury lay-off.

Nadal, who is also competing in doubles this week, will square off on Friday in singles against Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic, who needed two and a half hours to defeat Frenchman Benoit Paire, 7-6 (9/7), 6-7 (10/12), 6-3.

The wildly inconsistent Paire produced 16 aces and a dozen double-faults while saving eight of 13 break points.

Nadal's ninth Canadian appearance featured a 68-minute opening set in which the fourth seed saved three set points in the 10th game to level at 5-5.

The Spaniard dropped serve a game later only to get it back to take the set into a tiebreaker.

In the decider, Nadal recovered from 2-5 down and finally ended the duel on his second chance, a stunning overhead reverse backhand which landed at Janowicz's feet and went through his legs thanks to massive spin.

Nadal's relief was short-lived with the Spaniard going down a break in the second set before finally squaring it at three games apiece.

Nadal, the champion in Canada in 2005 and 2008, squeezed out victory on the first of two match points with his sixth ace.

Later Thursday, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, the second seed, was taking a 5-0 career lead into his clash against colourful Latvian, Ernests Gulbis.

Top seed Novak Djokovic was involved in the night match, taking on Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

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