Rafael Nadal got his US Open preparations off to a flying start with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal Wednesday.
Nadal was playing his first match in the ATP Masters 1000 event since winning the title in 2013.
Barring brief blips where the seventh-seeded Spaniard got broken when serving for the first set and again for the match, Nadal was in no real trouble against the Ukrainian as he eased into a third round clash with Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
Earlier, Kei Nishikori notched an ATP-leading 27th hard court match win of the season with a smooth 6-3, 6-3 win over Spain’s Pablo Andujar.
The four-seeded Japanese needed just 70 minutes to beat the 48th-ranked Andujar, dropping serve just once and breaking his opponent four times.
American big-hitter Jack Sock notched his second consecutive win over No14 seed Grigor Dimitrov with a tight 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-5 triumph to set up a third round with world No1 Novak Djokovic.
This will be the first meeting between the pair.
Over in Toronto, in incredibly windy conditions, the WTA Rogers Cup saw second-seeded Simona Halep kick off her US Open preparations with an impressive 6-3, 6-4 win over former world No1 Jelena Jankovic to reach the third round.
Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic clawed her way back from a double-break down in the second set to beat Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the Serb’s first match back with British coach Nigel Sears. Ivanovic will next face Slovenia’s Polona Hercog who upset No11 seed Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5.
“It wasn’t a great match out there today – the conditions made it especially tough as it was very windy,” Ivanovic said.
“She had some matches under her belt so I was just happy to pull through.
“I just tried to hang in there and fight for each point. I was doing that in the second set and I managed to fight back and I was pleased with that.”
.@RogersCup R16 Serena v Petko Vinci v Dasha Bencic v Lisicki Hercog v Ana Tsurenko v Witthoeft Errani v Vika Aga v Cornet Kerber v Halep
— WTA (@WTA) August 13, 2015
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki also advanced, 7-6 (3), 6-4 over Barbora Strycova describing the wind as “like a hurricane”.
It was a bad day for grand slam runners-up as both Roland Garros and Wimbledon finalists, Lucie Safarova and Garbine Muguruza were sent packing by lower-ranked opposition.
Seventh-seeded Safarova, French Open runner-up, fell to 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 while Wimbledon runner-up and No8 seed Muguruza stumbled to Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 7-5, 6-1.
It was Gavrilova’s third top-10 victory of the season having also upset Maria Sharapova in Miami and Ivanovic in Rome.