In his 800th career match, King of Clay Rafael Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver (6-3, 7-5) to advance to the second round at the Rio Open in Brazil. His next opponent will be Albert Montanes.
Rafa faced a break point in his very first game, and the set got off to a slow start. With signs of his trademark footwork and strokes beginning to show, Rafa broke to take a 4-2 lead, and took the set at 6-3. The second set started with Rafa being broken in his first service game, only to break back and get back on serve. Rafa went on to take the set at 7-5.
About his win and subsequent matches, Rafa said – “I have to raise my level match by match. It was really important to win after spending a week without practice. Gimeno-Traver was more used to the conditions than me since he played the recent clay tournaments. I played better than practiced, that is something positive”*
It’s good to see Rafa back in competitive mode, moving freely on the tennis court. Stay tuned for more updates.