(AFP) Rafael Nadal stuttered to victory against one of his former ball boys at the China Open on Tuesday. Out-of-sorts Rafa was broken four times by China’s 230th-ranked Wu Di, who once tossed him balls and towels in Shanghai, before winning an error-strewn match 6-4, 6-4.
“We don’t need to talk more about confidence, rhythm. That’s my level today, and I’m going to work hard to try to improve my level of today,” he said, after reaching the second round.
“But tomorrow is another opportunity. I played a match today that I can play better, and I think I can play better tomorrow because I’m practising well.”
On a heavily polluted day in Beijing, Wu anticipated superbly when he lunged for a forehand volley winner for his first break of the Spaniard early in the first set, and he wasn’t done yet. Wu broke again to go ahead in the second set but with both players uncomfortable on serve, Nadal was able to wrap it up after 86 minutes and progress to a second-round meeting with Vasek Pospisil.
“I’m practising well, so the level of tennis is going to be there sooner or later. I am working a lot to make that happen. I think I’m closer to that,” Rafa said. “I know it’s obvious that I need results to confirm that. But we are almost at the end of this season and I have time to keep playing the last tournaments of the year with the chance to practise the things that I need to do for next year. My goal is recover the level especially to play my best on clay next year.”
Source: Agence France-Presse