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 in the Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday.
Nadal, who won a bye into the second one spherical, has no longer performed a event since profitable his 85th singles identify in Acapulco, having skipped the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open in New York because of COVID-19 considerations.
The match was once additionally Nadal’s first on clay in 465 days after his French Open triumph ultimate 12 months and the 34-year-old Spaniard despatched an ominous message to the sector as he ruled the U.S. Open semi-finalist from start 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 stated. “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.”