TORONTO—Stan Wawrinka put doubts over his form to rest by pushing world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to the limits on Thursday night at the Rogers Cup. The two traded hot shots across nearly three hours with Nadal edging the Swiss, 7-5, 7-6 (4).
First things first though, Nadal needed to make sure center court was in tip-top shape.
Then came an unreal backhand slice passing shot that helped give Nadal the edge in the first set:
Wawrinka wasn't going down without a fight. He produced backhand winners from all parts of the court. Like this one to break back in the second set:
And his movement wasn't too shabby either:
Nadal, pushed to produce his best tennis, did just that:
He was pumped up, to say the least:
At 5-5 came the inevitable: Nadal's first time warning with the new shot clock. But he took it in stride:
Put it on the record that Rafa laughed about getting a shot clock time violation warning.— TroubleFault (@troublefault) August 10, 2018
Do you see this? The player who was supposed to be deathly afraid of the shot clock? HE LAUGHED. pic.twitter.com/8p25F9zn8u
"I feel today was a little bit quicker, the things. Depends on the umpire, how quick he puts the clock going. So that's it, no?" Nadal said. "I follow the rules. I just need to get used to play like this, and I don't have any doubt that I will."
The Spaniard had only the best things to say about Wawrinka, who's ranked No. 195 as he picks up speed in his comeback from knee surgery.
"I’m very happy to see Stan playing so well again. I know how tough it is from my personal experience [to come back]," Nadal said. "If he is healthy, I have no doubt he will be back in the right position and fighting for the biggest events."
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.