Beijing Open | Nadal just gets through
World No.1 Rafael Nadal saved two match points to avoid a shock defeat in the first round of the China Open, finally quelling a strong challenge from Lucas Pouille in three sets to secure his place in round two at the China Open in Beijing.
The Frenchman broke Nadal on the way to taking the first set 6-4, and the World No.23 came within a whisker of sealing an upset when the second set went to a tie break.
For me it was a little bit difficult at the beginning, then I started to play better. But still, I didn’t have the control of the match for almost all the time. I am very, very happy to be through. Rafa Nadal
But Nadal, 31, with the Beijing crowd backing him on the outdoor hard court, held his nerve when twice staring defeat in the face and fought back to win the tie break 8-6.
The pair headed into a final-set shootout and again Pouille refused to buckle, Nadal getting the critical break of serve in the 11th game before serving for the set and match 7 -5.
Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, tumbled and lost a shoe at one point, and said afterwards he was fortunate to be in the second round.
“He played well, I think, very aggressive. He’s serving well,” the Spaniard who lost to Pouille the at last year’s US Open, the last time they met.
“For me it was a little bit difficult at the beginning, then I started to play better. But still, I didn’t have the control of the match for almost all the time,” Nadal admitted. “I am very, very happy to be through.”
He will face Karen Khachanov for a place in the quarter-finals.
Kyrgios also stuttered through to the second round, recovering from the loss of the first set to defeat Misha Zverev 3-6 6-2 6-2 after just an hour and 21 minutes.
Kyrgios started slowly with Zverev taking the first set with just one break at which stage Kyrgios took control by breaking in the second game of the second set.
The Aussie then raced into a 3-0 lead in the third before putting the match to bed to become the first man into the quarter finals at the China Open.
Zverev’s younger brother, the second seed Alexander Zverev, reached round two at the expense of Kyle Edmunds, beating the British No.2 6-3 7-6(3)