Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during the men's singles second round match against Daniel Evans of Britain in Montreal, Canada on Aug. 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Andrew Soong)
OTTAWA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Top-seeded defending champion Rafael Nadal won his Rogers Cup Montreal 2019 opener 7-6 (6), 6-4 in a rain-impacted match against British No. 2 seed Daniel Evans on Wednesday.
With Djokovic and Federer's withdrawal, Nadal is a solid favorite to win the Rogers Cup title for a fifth time, having not claimed a hardcourt title since this tournament last year.
England's Evans, suspended for 12 months due to a positive cocaine test in 2017, is moving closer to his career-high ranking of world number 41 attained in early 2017.
The 29-year-old started strong at 3-1 before the world number two evened the set 3-3 and secured a 6-5 lead. After a rain delay, Evans sent the match to a tiebreak, where he led 5-2. Nadal fought back again and saved the set points to seize the momentum.
In the second set, the Spaniard took the lead with two breaks. Then play was interrupted by rain for one hour and 56 minutes. Although Evans broke back to level at 3-3 after they resumed, Nadal eventually sealed victory en route to his 378th Masters 1000 win.
The 33-year-old, who has just tied Roger Federer on the all-time leaderboard, will face Argentine lefty Guido Pella in the third round on Thursday. Pella earlier beat Moldova's Radu Albot 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2).