Top seed Rafael Nadal survived an extremely tough opener at the China Open in Beijing. Promising star Lucas Pouille was on the brink of beating Nadal in the first round. In the end, the Spaniard escaped with a narrow 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 win over the Frenchman.

Pouille converted his first break point of the match to open up a 3-2 lead. Nadal saved a set point on his serve in the ninth game to prolong the set. However, Pouille kept his focus to serve out for the first set in the 10th game.

Nadal opened a 2-1 second set lead after he saved a break point in the third game. Nadal had three consecutive break points in the eighth game but didn't convert his chances.

As no breaks of serve were seen, the set went into a tie-break. Pouille blew two consecutive match points at 6-4 in the tie-break. The great Nadal won four points in a row to clinch the decider.

Both players were tied at 3-3 in the third set after Pouille failed to convert a break point in the sixth game. Nadal broke Pouille to love in the 12th game for a 6-5 lead. The No. 1 seed then routinely served out in the following game to clinch the win.

Nadal broke Pouille once and saved 3-of-4 of the Frenchman's break point chances. Pouille hit nine aces and won 77 percent of his first serve points, but it wasn't enough. The match came to an end after two hours and 31 minutes of a tough battle.

Nadal now has a 2-1 head-to-head record against Pouille. Nadal dominantly beat Pouille at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2015.

Pouille stunned Nadal at the US Open year ago in an epic five-setter.

Nadal plays Khachanov next

Nadal is now set to meet rising Karen Khachanov in the China Open second round. Khachanov cruised past wildcard Di Wu 6-4 6-2. It was the first-ever meeting between Khachanov and Wu.

Khachanov broke Wu in the third game to open up a 2-1 lead. Wu saved a break point at 5-3 on his serve to remain alive in the opener. Khachanov made no mistake on his serve in the 10th game as he went on to take the first set.

Khachanov got off to a dominant 4-0 second set lead. Wu broke Khachanov in the sixth game to reduce the deficit to 4-2. Khachanov stayed calm as he won the next two games to seal straight sets win.

Khachanov hoping for an upset

Nadal and Khachanov are set to clash off for the second time in their respective careers when they meet at the China Open. Nadal outclassed Khachanov in straight sets this past July at Wimbledon. World No. 42 Khachanov would love to make amends for the Wimbledon loss. It remains to be seen can Khachanov pull off an upset and beat Nadal in the Beijing second-round.