The Spaniard, who last played on February 29 and who resigned from both the Cincinnati Masters 1,000 and the US Open, showed a good image at the beginning of the defense of his crown on the Roman red clay, a scenario that serves as anteroom for Roland Garros.
The manacorí, second seed in the Foro Italico, seemed not to miss the competition. After having trained with time in the facilities of his Academy on his favorite surface, it remained to be seen his competitive rhythm against a rival who came with that subject already learned and also with a good grade.
However, little could be seen of Pablo Carreño who was one step away from the final in New York a few days ago. The Asturian never found his best tennis, in part also due to the good game played by Nadal who resolved the duel in an hour and a quarter.
After a somewhat hesitant start, in which he wasted an initial 40-0 and gave the Spaniard his only option to break, the one from Manacor settled on the track and began to dominate, especially with his serve with which he already only lost one more point. With that firmness, it was enough for him to threaten the service of the Gijón, who only, and also conceding breaking ball, could save the first, delivering the next two.
Nadal did not slow down after closing the first set, while Carreño was gradually getting discouraged. The Spaniard managed to get his first serve of the second round, but the Spaniard, without errors, took the next six games to solve his return to action with authority.
“It’s good to be back on the track. I played a good game and maybe Pablo was a little tired after all his games in New York. It was a perfect start for me, it was solid and I hit good forehand and backhand shots. No I expected to play so well, “Nadal acknowledged in his interview on the court after the game.
The world number one, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, also made his debut with victory, who defeated with authority the Italian Salvatore Caruso in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, in what was his first match after his disqualification in the US. Open.
The one from Belgrade, finalist last year at the Foro Italico against Rafa Nadal, signed a very solid match against the 87th in the world, invited by the organization, without giving up a single break ball and losing only eleven points with his serve .
His compatriot Filip Krajinovic will be his next rival in a draw where he will no longer have as an obstacle the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, third seed, who was surprised by the young local tennis player Jannik Sinner, who won 6-1, 6-7 (9) , 6-2.
On the other hand, in the women’s tournament, in the Premier 5 category, the Spanish Aliona Bolsava could not continue, who could not with the Russian Anna Blinkova who came back to take the ticket to the round of 16 4-6, 6-1, 7- 6 (4)