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Nadal vs Paire tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Three-time Rogers Cup champion Nadal to maintain perfect record vs Paire

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 8 Aug 2018
  • Rafael Nadal faces Benoit Paire in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday
  • Nadal vs Paire is live from Toronto on Wednesday at 6.30pm local/11.30pm BST
Rafael Nadal (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal starts his American hard-court campaign against Benoit Paire at the Canada Masters in Toronto on Wednesday.

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal begins his warm-up for his forthcoming US Open title defense as he takes on Benoit Paire for a place in the third round of the Rogers Cup.

Nadal has won the Canada Masters, or the Rogers Cup/Coupe Rogers as it is also known, three times – in 2005 (d. Andre Agassi), 2008 (d. Nicolas Kiefer) and 2013 (d. Milos Raonic). But since that 2013 triumph, he has only played the tournament twice in four years – and both times, it has been when the tournament was being played in Montreal, in 2015 when he made the quarterfinals before losing to Kei Nishikori and in 2017 when he was an early casualty of Denis Shapovalov’s brilliant run to the semifinals.

Nadal last played in Toronto in 2012  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
That means this is the first time Nadal has played in Toronto in six years and it’s also just the second hard-court event that the world no. 1 has played in 2018. Although Nadal has amassed a very good 35-5 record on 2018 so far, 26 of those wins and one of those defeats have come on clay, with his retirement against Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open heralding an injury lay-off that encompassed February and March. After winning his eleventh French Open title, Nadal also pulled out of a scheduled appearance at Queen’s Club (again), playing just one grass-court event – Wimbledon, where he failed to capitalize on perhaps his best chance to win the tournament for years, losing to Novak Djokovic in a hard-fought five-set semifinal played over two days. Djokovic would go on to defeat a fatigued Kevin Anderson – the same opponent Nadal trounced in last year’s US Open final - in straight sets in the final.

‘That’s the sport,’ Nadal said. ‘I have been in a position where I could have won the tournament but I lost the match I could have won. 

‘I had my good chances but he deserved it too. I’ve tried to rest a little bit, enjoy the Balearic Islands a bit, going back to work a bit in Mallorca these last couple of days before the tournament starts.’

Djokovic, seeded ninth in Toronto, has landed in the opposite half of the draw and already got his tournament underway with a defeat of lucky loser Mirza Basic on Tuesday, while Nadal will face either Stan Wawrinka or Marton Fucsovics in the third round after the former defeated Nick Kyrgios. 

With Djokovic returned to winning ways, the task of defending the US Open title looks like a much more difficult one for Nadal, but the world no. 1 is already refusing to read too much into his results in Toronto where that is concerned.

‘I think what can happen here or in Cincinnati will not have a big impact on the US Open,’ Nadal said. ‘Of course the good results would be good for the confidence but the conditions are completely different – courts, the ball especially. 

‘I know from my experience if I play well here and Cincinnati it’s a little bit easier to play well at the US Open but not decisive. Last year I didn’t play very well [at Rogers Cup] but I played well at the US Open and won it. 

‘In 2005 I won here and I lost third round at the US Open. If you win, you play well in these two events and create this extra confidence to play well there, but if you lose it doesn’t matter, the conditions are completely different.’

Benoit Paire (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Nadal will like his chances of preserving a perfect record against France’s Benoit Paire on Thursday. 

Paire has won three main-draw matches at the Canada Masters in four appearances, and lost to Jared Donaldson in the second round last year when the tournament was held in Montreal. The mercurial Frenchman, a top-20 player in January 2016, comes into this year’s Rogers Cup ranked world no. 55 and with a 19-19 record on the season so far: He started out well with back-to-back semifinals in Pune and Sydney in January, but has won back-to-back matches at only four subsequent events, reaching the quarterfinals in Montpellier and the third rounds of the Miami Masters, Rome Masters and Wimbledon.

Paire came into Toronto on a four-match losing streak, having gone winless in post-Wimbledon clay-court events and been ousted in three sets by Marcos Baghdatis in the first round in Washington, D.C. last week. But he snapped that streak with a  6-3, 6-4 victory over Jared Donaldson in the first round in Toronto to set up the clash with Nadal – the fourth time they will have met in their careers.

Nadal has won all three previous meetings with Paire in straight sets, but this will be their first meeting on hard courts. That might slightly improve Paire’s chances, as might the fact that he has at least been playing (if not winning) for the past three weeks while Nadal has been resting. The Frenchman is a superbly talented player, but he has too many weaknesses in his game which a player like Nadal can expose. Even if Nadal doesn’t play his best in Toronto tonight, he should still be able to come through very solidly.

Nadal vs Paire second-round tennis is live from Toronto on Wednesday at 6.30pm local/11.30pm BST

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Nadal vs Paire tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Three-time Rogers Cup champion Nadal to maintain perfect record vs Paire

Rafael Nadal vs Benoit Paire live streaming, preview and predictions for the Rogers Cup Toronto second-round match on Wednesday 8 August 2018: Nadal is 3-0 vs Paire and is unlikely to tarnish his record even as they face off for the first time on hard courts

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