Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal confirmed little indicators of rust when he performed his first match in 200 days as he beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-1 within the Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday.
Nadal, who acquired a bye into the second round, has not performed a match since successful his 85th singles title in Acapulco, having skipped the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open in New York attributable to COVID-19 apprehension.
The match was additionally Nadal’s first on clay in 465 days after his French Open triumph last yr and the 34-year-old Spaniard despatched an ominous message to the sector as he dominated the U.S. Open semi-finalist from begin at an empty Foro Italico.
“It’s good to be back on the Tour but obviously the feeling is not the best playing without crowds,” Nadal mentioned. “At least there’s one positive thing, the sport is back.
Nadal broke in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and did not look back, winning the last 10 points in the opening set to put down a marker for Carreno Busta who struggled with the pace of the ball on clay after two hardcourt tournaments.
The second set was more of the same as a visibly jumpy Nadal could not wait to get going between games and the world number two wrapped up the match in 73 minutes with 20 winners while Carreno Busta made 28 unforced errors.
“I played a good match, maybe he was a little bit tired from New York (where) he played an amazing tournament,” Nadal added. “It’s a perfect start for me, I played solid, some good shots with the forehand and backhand.”