Tennis fans at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday night were witness to the good, the bad and the ugly from former Grand Slam champion Marat Safin in his match against Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, the No. 2 seed from Spain, defeated Safin 7-6 (4), 6-0 in their first-ever meeting to advance to the third round of the event.
Nadal and Safin put on an impressive display in the first set. Safin had a forehand winner in his sights for a break and a 7-5 first set win, but he sprayed the shot wide.
He repeated the mistake with the score 4-4 later in the tiebreak, and Nadal went on to take the next three points and the set.
"You [play] the whole match with tension," Nadal said, "because if he plays well, he is impossible."
As has happened in the past, Safin lost his cool after the disappointing result. The Russian hammered the ball in frustration after several lost points, and threw his racquet into the net on his way to going down 3-0 in the second.
Nadal, meanwhile, continued to chase down balls, drawing applause after an effort in the fourth game of the final set.
Safin continued to express his frustration after the match.
"He doesn't play as fast as I thought he would," Safin said of Nadal. "I expected more power, I expected the game would be faster and more intense. He was waiting for me to make mistakes."
Defending champion and top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland was tested earlier in the day, but outlastedbig Croatian Ivo Karlovic. Federer toppedhis six-foot-10 opponent 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).
Spectators at centre court at Uniprix Stadium serenaded Federer on his 26th birthday.
"I enjoy it, of course," Federer said. "At the same time you're like, 'I'm struggling to get a ball back against this guy and they're singing Happy Birthday.'"
Canadian Dancevic advances
Other top seeds, — including No. 7 Tommy Robredo of Spain, No. 8 Richard Gasquet of France and No. 9 James Blake of the U.S. — were not as fortunate, bowing out in a string of upsets.
Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty defeated Robredo 6-2, 6-4, while Spaniard Fernando Verdasco beat Gasquet, last year's Rogers Cup finalist, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Blake conceded his match against Australian Lleyton Hewitt before he even stepped onto the court, citing an abdominal injury as the reason for the forfeit.
Italian qualifier Fabio Fognini stunned No. 13 Andy Murray of Scotland 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the third round, while one-time Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian of Argentina scored a mild upset of No. 16 seed David Ferrer of Spain, 7-6 (4), 6-1.
Frank Dancevic became the first Canadian in four years to advance to the third round of the event.
Dancevic, of Niagara Falls, Ont.,beatAmerican qualifier Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to continue his strong summer. The 22-year-old upset Andy Roddick in late July before bowing out at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships.
Dancevic fired off 19 aces and received plenty of support from the home crowd on Court 1.
"It was really incredible," he said. "I felt like I was on centre court."
Davydenko returns after controversial match
Inafternoon action, No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko defeated Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 7-6 (5),the Russian's first match of the tournament after suffering an upset loss last week at an event in Poland that is under investigation.
Last week, online bookmakers Betfair voided wagers on Davydenko's match against Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Poland Open. The fourth-ranked Davydenko won the first set 6-2, but lost the second 6-3 and was trailing 2-1 in the third when he withdrew with a foot injury.
Betfair reported a high number of bets were placed on the match and informed the ATP, the governing body of men's tennis.
Other top seeds advancing in Montreal on Wednesday were No.5 Roddick and No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.
Roddick beat Arnaud Clement of France 6-1, 7-6 (5), with Youzhny defeating Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4 to book his place in the next round.
Toronto's Daniel Nestor — playing with partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas — registered his 600th career doubles victory in a 6-3, 6-4 second-round win over Tomas Berdych and Nicolas Kiefer.
Tennis Canada presented Nestor with a bottle of champagne on centre court as ball boys and girls held letters that spelled out "Congratulations Daniel 600" along the baseline.
The semifinals go Saturday (CBC, 1 and 7 p.m. ET), with the finalon Sunday (CBC, 2 p.m. ET).