World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was made to work and No. 2 Novak Djokovic had to sweat as they launched their North American hardcourt campaigns with battling second round wins at the Toronto Masters on Wednesday.
Nadal was put to the test by Stanislas Wawrinka, needing two hours and 20 minutes and all his weapons to put away the stubborn Swiss 7-6 6-3.
The opening set took a gruelling 92 minutes before ending in a pulsating tiebreak that Nadal took 14-12, matching the longest tiebreak of his career.
In five meetings with Nadal, Wawrinka had never taken a set off the muscular Mallorcan or claimed a victory over any world number one in six tries.
Wawrinka, who partnered Roger Federer to a doubles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, looked determined to keep the pressure on Nadal.
But Nadal, playing his first match since his Wimbledon victory in July, never panicked and seized control of the tiebreak and the second set to remain on course for a third Canadian title. While Nadal skipped off the court looking as if he could keep playing, Djokovic could barely stand after a gritty 7-5, 7-5 win over French Julien Benneteau in sweltering midday conditions.