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Federer and Nadal return with routine wins

Written by: Staff

TORONTO, Aug 9 (Reuters) World number one Roger Federer and defending champion Rafael Nadal returned from vacation to post routine first-round wins at the Toronto Masters.

Back in action for the first time since their Wimbledon showdown, Federer celebrated his 25th birthday by easing past Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3 6-4 yesterday, while Nadal shook off the rust with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Chile's Nicolas Massu.

Federer and Nadal, the world's two outstanding players, have met in five finals this year and appear headed for another mouth-watering clash on Sunday.

The muscular Spaniard and silky smooth Swiss have taken ownership of the men's game, winning six of the last seven grand slams and 12 of 14 Masters Series events, including the last two Toronto Masters.

Federer, who spent a month off savouring a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title at his training and holiday base in Dubai, was typically efficient, improving his season's hardcourt record to 29-1, his only loss coming to Nadal in the Dubai final.

Federer, the 2004 Toronto champion, will next meet in-form Frenchman Arnaud Clement, who won his second title of the season on Sunday in Washington and strolled into the second round by crushing Spain's Alberto Martin 6-1 6-2.

FEISTY CHILEAN After a month layoff spent fishing and visiting Euro Disney, Nadal laboured against the feisty Chilean, particularly in a tough opening set that lasted 68 minutes.

But after nearly two hours under the sun, the second seed declared himself satisfied.

The momentum from claiming his second title of the season in Poland on Sunday was not enough to carry a weary Nikolay Davydenko to victory.

The Russian sixth seed was a first-round casualty, falling 6-3 7-5 to Belgian Xavier Malisse. Third seed David Nalbandian and No.

10 Marco Baghdatis have also exited the competition.

Marat Safin's up and down season continued when the Russian was bundled out in the first round 7-5 5-7 6-2 by seventh seed Tommy Robredo of Spain.

Australian 11th seed Lleyton Hewitt narrowly avoided a first round exit, rallying past Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 3-6 6-2 7-5 in a two hour, 35 minutes marathon.

German 16th seed Tommy Haas continued his domination of Max Mirnyi, disposing of the Belarussian 6-3 6-3 to register his eighth win in nine career meetings.

Reuters AY DB1102

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