SHANGHAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) Spain's Rafael Nadal charged back from a set down to beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the opening match of the Tennis Masters Cup today.
The French Open champion recovered from a sluggish start, winning his round-robin opener in a shade over two hours at the prestigious season-ending tournament in Shanghai.
Gasquet, who had lost all three of his previous matches against Nadal, took the first set after securing the crucial break at 4-3 with a forehand rocket down the line.
Nadal came to life in the second, the world number two breaking Gasquet to love for a 4-2 lead and levelling the match with a fierce serve to his opponent's body.
Gasquet battled gamely to stem the tide, but a pumped-up Nadal broke through at the same point in the decider and clinched victory with a sharp backhand volley.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic was playing Spain's David Ferrer in the second Gold Group match later today at the 4.45 million dollars eight-man event.
World number one Roger Federer, drawn in the Red Group, begins his bid for a fourth Masters Cup title in five years tomorrow.
REUTERS RAR DS1415