Nadal cruises in opener, US teen Tiafoe ousts Zverev
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 at the WTA and ATP Cincinnati Masters.
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.
Gasquet hasn't taken a set off the 31-year-old Spaniard in 10 consecutive meetings since doing so at Toronto in 2008.
Nadal was assured overtaking Britain's injured Andy Murray atop the rankings next week when Roger Federer withdrew Monday from Cincinnati with a back injury. Next for Nadal, who had a first-round bye, is a third- round matchup with 24th-ranked countryman Albert Ramos- Vinolas. Nadal has won their three prior meetings, most recently in April's Monte Carlo final.
Zverev, coming off titles in Montreal and Washington and seeking his sixth of the year, admitted exhaustion was a factor in his 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to US teen wildcard Frances Tiafoe, saying the toll of his extraordinary run caught up with him.
"I'm completely dead right now," Zverev said. "I've been dead for the past two days. I finished the match. I could have easily pulled the plug in the second set." For 19-year-old Tiafoe, a second-round loser to the 20- year-old German at Wimbledon and the Australian Open in their only prior meetings, it was the greatest triumph of his young career.