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Nadal made to work as Wawrinka proves tough test

RAFAEL NADAL survived a marathon first-set tiebreaker before he was finally able to shake off Swiss challenger Stanislas Wawrinka with a 7-6 (12-10) 6-3 win in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Canada.

"My goal was to win," Nadal said. "When you come back after (some) time without playing, tournaments are always difficult. I just tried my best and tried to find my rhythm."

Nadal arrived in Toronto in the midst of a season he aptly described as being "more than a dream", having won the French Open and Wimbledon titles among his five tournament victories on the ATP World Tour so far.

He proclaimed himself to be in fine physical fitness, with no concern for his meddlesome knees, as he sought to recapture a title he last won two years ago. Wawrinka, ranked 24th in the world, battled Nadal through the first set, breaking the Spaniard's serve moments after he had his serve broken.

He matched Nadal deep into the tiebreaker, fending off whatever the muscular Spaniard could muster. Nadal had a chance to put it away at 10-9, but sent his return into the net as Wawrinka tumbled to the ground on the other side.

Nadal finally took it 12-10 on his serve to end the first set after 92 minutes. It matched the longest tiebreaker of Nadal's career -- a mark he set two years ago in the quarter-final round of this event.

He broke a tiring Wawrinka to go up 3-1 in the second set, and will face South Africa's Kevin Anderson on Thursday.

"I had difficult moments, I had moments where I played well," Nadal said. "I did a little bit of everything, and that's very positive."

Defending champion Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic had less trouble advancing. Second-seeded Djokovic had a 7-5 7-5 win over France's Julien Benneteau and Murray beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse 7-5 6-2.

Murray was also in a positive frame of mind. "I feel good," Murray said. "Today could have been a little bit better from the start, but the first one's tough and I was playing against a very good player."

Djokovic won the Canadian tournament three years ago, having beaten both Nadal and Roger Federer, and he has reached the quarter-finals in each of the past two years.

Russia's Elena Dementieva lost 6-1 6-3 to compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the rain-hit Cincinnati Open, but Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters both advanced to the third round.

Clijsters comfortably defeated Russian Dinara Safina 7-5 6-2 in a match that was delayed by almost two hours by heavy showers.


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