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RI's Donaldson sets up meeting with Nadal in Shanghai Masters

Jared Donaldson, of the United States, returns a shot to David Goffin, of Belgium, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jared Donaldson of the U.S. enjoyed an early birthday present in beating Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4 in the Shanghai Masters first round on Sunday.

Donaldson, a Glocester native who turned 21 on Monday, saved all eight break points he faced. He broke Cuevas' serve once in each of the last two sets.

The 56th-ranked Donaldson plans to celebrate his birthday by going to Disney Shanghai on Monday, before experiencing a first career meeting against No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round.

"I want to get a picture with Mickey, Pluto the dog, and Daffy Duck," Donaldson said, laughing.

On a less lighter note, Donaldson said of playing Nadal: "You want to play against the best and see how your game stacks up. Playing against someone like Rafa is really special. If I lose, it will allow me to know what was my game lacking, what I need to improve on to beat guys like him."

Gilles Simon of France, a 2014 Shanghai finalist, posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chinese wild card Wu Yibing, who won the U.S. Open junior boys' title last month.

Also Sunday, Lucas Pouille of France defeated Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-4, 6-2, and Italy's Fabio Fognini beat Fernando Verdasco of Spain 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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