Rafael Nadal cruises to victory

CINCINNATI. — Rafael Nadal cruised to victory in his first match since clinching a return to world number one, while Alexander Zverev’s 10-match win streak was halted on Wednesday at the WTA and ATP Cincinnati Masters tennis tournament.

Nadal, a 15-time Grand Slam champion who captured his 10th French Open crown in June, defeated Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4, improving to 15-0 in ATP matches against the Frenchman.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who hasn’t lost a set to Gasquet in 10 consecutive meetings since Toronto in 2008, said the victory was crucial after last week’s second-round Montreal exit.

“It was important to win the first match after what happened last week in Montreal,” Nadal said. “I’m happy with the way I played.”

Nadal was assured overtaking Britain’s injured Andy Murray atop the rankings next week when Roger Federer withdrew on Monday from Cincinnati with a back injury.

He has not topped the rankings since July 2014. — AFP.

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