Nadal puts his foot down after slow start

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Rafael Nadal eased his way back into action for the first time since his epic triumph at Wimbledon with a low-key victory over Jesse Levine in the second round of the Toronto Masters here last night.

Nadal overcame a slow start to dispatch the American 6-4, 6-2 in the Rogers Cup. The world No 2 had to rally from 4-1 down in the first set, going on to break Levine four times in the 97-minute match.

Spanish compatriot and fifth seed David Ferrer defeated Robby Ginepri 6-4, 6-4 for just his second career win in six matches against the American after play was delayed for nearly six hours yesterday due to rain.

The Croatian Marin Cilic ousted 12th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-3, 6-4, and Marat Safin finally won his first-round meeting with American Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-3. The match had begun on Tuesday before being suspended due to the rain.

Novak Djokovic opened the defence of his title in impressive style with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Canadian Frank Dancevic on Tuesday night. The Australian Open champion and world No 3 was joined in the third round by the sixth-seeded American Andy Roddick, who had launched his hardcourt campaign earlier on Tuesday with a battling 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 win over the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

Playing in his first event since his surprise second-round defeat to Marat Safin at Wimbledon, Djokovic took a little time to shake off the rust but soon got into his stride and broke Dancevic to take the opening set.

The 21-year-old Serb recorded an early break in the second to push 4-2 ahead but then wobbled as Dancevic, urged on by a raucous home crowd, broke back and then held serve. But Djokovic responded with a decisive break to seal the match in 77 minutes. "I was aware he had nothing to lose, the big Canadian hope playing in front of his crowd with big support," said Djokovic.

Britain's Melanie South made the most of her unexpected opportunity at the East West Bank Classic to reach the third round in Los Angeles last night.

The 22-year-old lost in qualifying but was elevated into the main draw when Serena Williams pulled out, and received a bye into the second round courtesy of replacing the second seed. And yesterday South beat Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2, gaining the upper hand in the middle of the first set after initially going a break down.

The British No 4 has enjoyed a successful year, winning a tournament in Australia in March then reaching the quarter-finals of the DFS Classic in Birmingham. South, ranked 156th in the world, faces either 16th seed Sania Mirza or Meng Yuan in the third round.