By Abigail Hinto
(September 30, 2014) BEIJING – What rust? Rafael Nadal didn’t show any rust in his first singles match back to the competition after being sidelined with a right wrist injury for three months. In a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 win over Richard Gasquet.
Nadal was playing aggressively off both his forehand and backhand, hitting winners all over the court. Once Gasquet was pushed off the court with Nadal dictating play, and there was nothing more the Frenchman could do to get back in to the point. His only other option was to be as aggressive as Nadal, which he managed to do well in the first set earning him a couple of break points but which unfortunately for him, he was unable to convert especially in the crucial tenth game as Nadal saved the break point with an ace while serving for the set.
The second set saw Gasquet’s frustration boil over as he started making more errors with overly aggressive play while Nadal was as steady as rock both offensively and defensively.
There were no signs of the wrist injury from Nadal, “the wrist is much, much better,” according to Nadal. “Is almost recovered hundred percent. I cannot say ‘hundred percent’ because when you have some feelings on it when you warm up at the beginning, it’s not hundred percent. But let’s say 90 something percent. The most important thing is the wrist is not limiting me to play my tennis, to hit the normal backhand.”
Overall, Rafael Nadal is happy to be back on court playing again. “I have to be happy the way that I played, no? Three months without a match, winning against a player who is a good player like Richard, is a very positive comeback for me.”
“More important than win, lose, is spend time on court. And winning, I have another chance to play another match after tomorrow, no?”
“That’s the key for me today: spend time on court, play matches. At least I going to play two matches minimum here. That’s a positive thing. I’m going to try my best to play three.”
Next up for Nadal is Peter Gojowczyk who took him to three sets earlier this year in Doha in their only meeting so far.
Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are in Beijing, China covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow their twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.
Photos by Natalie Ho.