Toronto :Top-ranked Rafael Nadal survived a marathon first-set tiebreaker before he was finally able to shake off Swiss challenger Stanislas Wawrinka with a 7-6 (12), 6-3 win in the second round of the Rogers Cup on Wednesday.
"My goal was to win," Nadal said. "When you come back after (some) time without playing, tournaments are always difficult. I just tried my best and tried to find my rhythm."
Defending champion Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic had less trouble advancing.
Second-seeded Djokovic had a 7-5, 7-5 win over France's Julien Benneteau and Murray beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse 7-5, 6-2.
Nadal arrived in Toronto in the midst of a season he aptly described as being "more than a dream," having won the French Open and Wimbledon titles among five tournament victories on the ATP World Tour.
He proclaimed himself to be in fine physical fitness, with no concern for his meddlesome knees as he sought to recapture a title he last won two years ago.
Wawrinka, ranked 24th in the world, battled Nadal through the first set, breaking the Spaniard's serve moments after he had his serve broken.
He matched Nadal deep into the tiebreaker, fending off whatever the muscular Spaniard could muster. Nadal had a chance to put it away at 10-9, but sent his return into the net as Wawrinka tumbled to the ground on the other side.
Nadal finally took it, 14-12, on serve, to end the first set after 92 minutes. It matched the longest tiebreaker of Nadal's career _ a mark he set two years ago in the quarterfinal round of the Canadian event.
He broke a tiring Wawrinka to go up 3-1 in the second set, and will face South Africa's Kevin Anderson on Thursday.
"I had difficult moments, I had moments where I played well," Nadal said. "I did a little bit of everything, and that's very positive."
Murray was also in a positive frame of mind.
"I feel good," Murray said. "Today could have been a little bit better from the start, but the first one's tough and I was playing against a very good player."
Djokovic won the Canadian tournament three years ago, having beaten both Nadal and Roger Federer. He has reached the quarterfinals in each of the past two years.
In other second-round matches, No. 6-seeded Nikolay Davydenko had a 7-5, 6-1 win over Italian Fabio Fognini, while Jeremy Chardy of France had an upset 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over ninth-seeded Fernando Verdasco.
Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov ousted No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 and Frenchman Michael Llodra beat No. 14 Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-2.
David Nalbandian continued his impressive comeback from injury with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Tommy Robredo.