Nadal advances in Montreal return

Rafael Nadal won his first match since May when his opponent David Ferrer retired with a left knee injury in the first set on Wednesday night at the US$3 million Rogers Cup.

Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday when Ferrer pulled out during the first set with a knee injury.

MONTREAL — Rafael Nadal won his first match since May when his opponent David Ferrer retired with a left knee injury in the first set on Wednesday night at the US$3 million Rogers Cup.

Nadal led 4-3 in the set when Ferrer informed the chair umpire he could not continue. Afterwards Ferrer said the injury wasn’t serious and that he would likely be back on court next week for a tournament in Mason, Ohio.

It was an ironic twist since it was Nadal who was returning for his first match since the French Open due to tendinitis in both knees.

Nadal, who looked strong on the court as Ferrer made him run, will face German Philipp Petzschner in the third round on Thursday.

Wimbledon may have been one of the biggest losses of his career, and yet it seemed to bring a new appreciation for the skill and tenacity of Andy Roddick.

The top American tennis player said Wednesday he was “humbled” by the reaction of fans both at the All England Club and back home in North America to his five-set loss to Roger Federer in July, in which the Swiss ace won a record 15th career grand slam title.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had this level of support in my career thus far,” said the fifth-seeded Roddick after he dispatched Igor Andreev of Russia 6-1, 7-6 (3) in the second round of the US$3-million Rogers Cup.

“It definitely helped a lot as far the recovery process and getting excited about getting back out here again. Especially seeing the excitement it caused for tennis in the United States. It was THE story for a couple of days or a week, which is rare. There’s been a lot of good things that have come of it.”

The centre court crowd at Uniprix Stadium was certainly on the side of the 26-year-old American as he evened his match record against Andreev to 2-2 and advanced to a third round meeting with 10th-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

But it wasn’t quite like that moment at Wimbledon when both players were cheered for a classic final match.

“To be honest, afterwards I was sitting there and there was a million things going through your head, especially with the significance of what happened, of what Roger had just accomplished. For them to acknowledge my effort was kind of nice. I certainly appreciated it.”

And now the former world No. 1 feels a new appreciation from fans.

“During my career I’ve been portrayed as every type of person — good, bad, ugly, rude, nice — and this is the first time it’s been presented in the light of a hard-working, everyday Joe type of tennis player trying to make good,” he said. “All the while the meat and potatoes of who I am have probably stayed the same.

“Maybe people have realized that it’s not easy and it does take work.”

With the Wimbledon loss and a three-set defeat in the final in his return to the court last week in Washington, Roddick will be vying to reach a final in a third straight tournament at the Rogers Cup.

Verdasco, the second-ranked left-handed player on the ATP Tour behind Rafael Nadal, advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

Another former world No. 1, Juan Carlos Ferrero, continued his strong run at the Rogers Cup with a 6-3, 7-6 (6) upset of 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France.

In doubles, Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., and Pierre-Ludovic Duclos of Ste-Foy, Que., defeated Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 7-5, 5-7 (14-12) in a first-round match.

The Canadians’ next opponent will be the eighth-seeded pair of Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Oliver Marach of Austria.

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