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Rafael Nadal two wins away from regaining ATP No. 1 tennis ranking

Rafael Nadal returns to Borna Coric at the Rogers Cup in Montreal yesterday. Pic/AFP
Rafael Nadal returns to Borna Coric at the Rogers Cup in Montreal yesterday. Pic/AFP

Rafael Nadal took a step closer to the No. 1 ranking as he started his Rogers Cup campaign by overwhelming Borna Coric.

Nadal will overtake Andy Murray at the top of the ATP rankings if he progresses to the semi-finals in Montreal this week. And the top seed, who last topped the rankings in 2014, quickly found his groove by dismantling his opponent 6-1, 6-2 to reach the last 16.

Roger Federer eased back into action for the first time since winning his eighth Wimbledon title last month as he also reached the third round with a dominant victory over Canada’s World No. 116 Peter Polansky 6-2, 6-1.

Canadian Milos Raonic suffered an early exit, the sixth seed losing 6-4, 6-4 to Adrien Mannarino, but wild card Denis Shapovalov, 18, gave the home crowd something to cheer. Shapovalov, World No. 143, battled to a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) success against former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and set up a clash with Nadal.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev saved three match points — one of them after a 49-shot rally — before beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).

Another man who battled back from the brink was Gael Monfils, who saved four match points in the deciding tie-break as he beat Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-6 (8/6). Eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost in three sets to Sam Querrey while ninth seed David Goffin is also heading home after going down 7-5, 6-3 to Hyeon Chung.

Konta slips
British No. 1 Johanna Konta let slip two match points as she was knocked out of the Rogers Cup by world number 42 Ekaterina Makarova 5-7,
7-6 (4), 6-3 in almost two-and-a-half hours.

Venus battles into last-16
In Toronto, Venus Williams was forced to draw on all of her vast experience before overcoming the 21-year-old Czech youngster Katerina Siniakova 7-5, 7-5 to reach the last 16 on Wednesday.

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