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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Staring down a pair of match points, it appeared Rafael Nadal had met his match against Lucas Pouille.

The world No. 1 answered with an alternative vision.

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A resilient Nadal fought off match points in the tie break with a four-point run fending off the Frenchman, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, in his Beijing opener.

It was Nadal’s eighth straight victory.

The 2005 Beijing champion will play either Russian Karen Khachanov or Chinese wild card Di Wu next.

Forward thinking helped the US Open champion turn the match around. Nadal was 10 of 10 at net.

The 23rd-ranked Pouille upset Nadal in a fifth-set tiebreak at the 2016 US Open.

In today’s rematch, Pouille was poised to repeat the feat holding a 6-4 second-set tie break lead.

Nadal responded reeling off four straight points to force the decisive set.


That winning feeling. #ChinaOpen

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In the final set, Nadal won 22 of 24 first-serve points and converted the lone break point to seal a demanding two hour, 31-minute victory. Nadal raised his 2017 record to 57-9.  

No. 3-seeded Grigor Dimitrov hit nine aces and nine double faults denying Damir Dzumhur, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.


Happy with your performance, @grigordimitrov? #ChinaOpen

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It was Dimitrov's second three-set win over St. Petersburg champion Dzumhur in as many meetings.  The 2016 Beijing finalist will face wild card Juan Martin del Potro in a blockbuster second round clash.

In his first match since the US Open semifinals, del Potro defeated Pablo Cuevas, 7-6 (4), 6-4, in a successful Beijing debut.

The 24th-ranked Argentine has won five of six meetings with Dimitrov, but the Bulgarian beat del Potro, 6-3, 7-5, en route to the Cincinnati championship in August.

Nick Kyrgios blasted past Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-1, 6-2. Kyrgios crunched 12 aces and won 19 of 22 first-serve points in a 55-minute rout.

The Australian No. 1 will face left-handed serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev in round two. Zverev conquered compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets yesterday.

Andrey Rublev repelled Jack Sock, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, setting up a second-round encounter with Tomas Berdych.

The seventh-seeded Czech beat Jared Donaldson, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

John Isner hit 11 aces and won 28 of 30 first-serve points in a 6-2, 6-3 sweep of qualifier Malek Jaziri. Isner permitted just seven points on serve in a 52-minute conquest. 


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