Nadal returns with routine win, Djokovic also advances in Beijing

He’s back and better than ever.

Well, maybe not better than ever–but Rafael Nadal was at least up to his usual tricks against Richard Gasquet in round one of the China Open on Tuesday. Playing his first match since a three-month layoff after Wimbledon because of a wrist injury, Nadal crushed Gasquet 6-4, 6-0 in just one hour and 18 minutes.
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Gasquet was already 0-12 lifetime against Nadal, so the Frenchman had good reason to lack belief even an against an opponent coming off an extended layoff. More of the same in this head-to-head series continued for Gasquet when he dropped serve at 1-1 in the first set.

Nadal saved three break points before eventually serving out the opener at 5-4, and after that it was all over. The second-ranked Spaniard surrendered a mere three service points–and only 10 points total–in the entire second set.

“After three months without a match, winning against a good player like Richard is a very positive comeback for me,” Nadal assured. “I think I played solid; no mistakes. I’m happy the way I played.“More important than winning or losing is spending time on court. That’s the key for me at the moment. At least I am going to play two matches minimum here. That’s a positive thing. I’m going to try my best to play three.”

In order to do that, Nadal will have to get past Peter Gojowyczk on Thursday. Gojowycz survived a wild, back-and-forth affair against Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

Joining Nadal and Gojowycz in the Beijing second round were fellow Tuesday winners Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Djokovic destroyed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-1 and will face Vasek Pospisil on Wednesday, while Murray–fresh off a title in Shenzhen–escaped Jerzy Janowicz 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-2.
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“I did not underestimate my opponent definitely from the start,” Djokovic explained. “I wanted to step into the court and dictate the play, dictate the rallies. I think I’ve done well. It was a bit of a sluggish start from both of us. We lost a lot of service games; took a lot of time to get into the rhythm, used to the conditions. Generally it’s fine. I cannot complain about the performance.”

Pablo Andujar, Pablo Cuevas, John Isner, Tommy Robredo, and Martin Klizan also advanced.


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