Nadal to face Wawrinka after fending off Mannarino
Rafael Nadal started his bid to seal the year-end number one status in Paris with a win over Adrian Mannarino.
Rafael Nadal will face Stan Wawrinka in the third round of the Paris Masters after grinding out a straight-sets victory over Adrian Mannarino in his first match as a married man.
The 19-time grand slam champion showed signs of rustiness seven weeks after his last main-draw contest – a US Open final victory over Daniil Medvedev.
Wildcard Mannarino put up a good fight in his homeland but was beaten 7-5 6-4 by the second seed.
Nadal did not face a break point and made only 11 unforced errors as he fended off world number 43 Mannarino, hitting 23 winners.
The match came 11 days after Nadal and long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello married in Mallorca.
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The Spaniard will end the year at the top of the rankings if he takes the title in the French capital for the first time this weekend and will be well fancied to get past Wawrinka, who has beaten him only three times in 21 meetings.
Nadal had to bide his time in a tight first set against Mannarino, with the first break point not coming until the eighth game and his fellow southpaw fended that off before levelling at 4-4.
The world number two’s persistence paid off when Mannarino was broken when serving to stay in a first set that lasted just shy of an hour.
It was a similar story in the second set of a serve-dominated contest, as Nadal had only the only break-point opportunity before Mannarino fired a forehand wide on the first match point to bow out.