(Reuters) 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal began his Mutua Madrid Open campaign with a 6-1, 7-6(4) victory over Miomir Kecmanovic in one hour and 55 minutes on Manolo Santana Stadium on Wednesday.
Rafa, competing in his first match since March following a rib injury, quickly found his rhythm in a strong start against Serbian Kecmanovic.
Rain suspended play early in the second set and 21-times Grand Slam champion Nadal lost momentum.
Rafa, hitting with explosive power, recovered from failing to serve out the match at 6-5 in the second set to seal victory in just under two hours.
Our champ, who improved his win-loss record to 21-1 for the season, is aiming to win his sixth title on home soil in Madrid having last won the tournament in 2017, and will next play qualifier David Goffin.
It was difficult, with the rain starting halfway through the match and Kecmanovic playing so well. But Rafa handled it well. I knew it wasn’t going to 3 sets, because Rafa and Feli and the others all wanted to get off to the football!
Finally Legend returned to his Turf… Great Movement and speed off the Racket. He is healthy and rearing to go. I think it was a very difficult for moya to stop him in Barcelona and MC but he did well to keep him healthy. Beast finally back
thanks RAFA, you are just too much, you brighten all of your lives
What a joy to have our GOAT back playing again. Have missed him so much, tennis isn’t a game without him. He seemed to be moving well and getting may this continue. Stay healthy Rafa ..vamos.
Keep it up Rafa, well done❤️ All the best for tomorrow.
Great to see you back Rafa xxx
Well done Rafa!!😀, great start, great return 👍🏻👏🏻💪🏻🙌🏻👌🏻. I’m so happy that you die it and are able to keep going on your preparation.
Now you can watch the match tranquil and to support to our Real Madrid 😜, you have finished earlier on purpose, right??!! 😄😆😅😂.
Vamos Rafa!, adelante nuestro campeón 🙏🏻😌
Rafa debut superior, te deseo lo mejor para el resto del torneo, te he visto muy bien para venir de una lesión, vamos Rafa
Bravo Rafa. First one in the bag. So fantastic to see you playing again and we are all behind you for the rest of the tournament. Vamos Rafa
Well played and what a match rafa
Well done, Rafa!👏❤️
Happy to see your family supporting you in person.🥰