Rafael Nadal racked up his 60th match victory of the 2010 after a 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Ruben Bemelmens in the second round at the Bangkok Open.
“It’s never easy in a first match,” said Nadal who was playing his first match since his historic US Open win. “I had a few days rest after the US Open but I think I am playing well. I’m happy with my match. Bemelmans played well during some moments and the second set for sure was not easy. It’s important to start with a win.”
Tomorrow, the World No. 1 who has reached the quarterfinals or beyond in all 14 events this year meets Mikhail Kukushkin. “Kuku” beat Del Potro-conqueror Olivier Rochus in three sets.
Nadal’s countryman Fernado Verdasco had a tough go in his opener losing to 2007 Bangkok runner-up Ben Becker 6-4, 6-4.
Jarkko Nieminen was also a winner on the day.
Tomorrow quarterfinal pairings have Nadal v. Kukushkin, Gulbis v. Garcia-Lopez, Nieminen v. Melzer and Brands v. Becker.
The top players – Robin Soderling, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych – all won handily today in Kuala Lumpur, so it could shape up to be a good weekend of tennis there. A strong quarterfinal lineup Friday features Raonic v. Andreev, Baghdatis v. Youhzny, Berdych v. Ferrer and Soderling v. Golubev.
Two-time French Open finalist Soderling hammered Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-0, 6-1.
“The first round in any tournament is always difficult,” said the top-seeded Soderling. “I am very happy with the performance. My next match is with Golubev. He is a tough opponent and has had a very good year. I watched his match earlier and he was very aggressive.”
In WTA news, Elena Dementieva beat her countryman and No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva in Tokyo. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki along with Victoria Azarenka and Francesca Schiavone were also winners. Tomorrow in the semifinals Wozniacki plays Azarenka, Dementieva faces Schiavone in a French Open rematch.
KUALA LUMPUR FRIDAY SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
[Q] M Raonic (CAN) vs [Q] I Andreev (RUS)
Not Before 2:30 PM
 M Baghdatis (CYP) vs  M Youzhny (RUS)
Not Before 6:15 PM
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
 R Soderling (SWE) vs  A Golubev (KAZ)
BANGKOK FRIDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
J Nieminen (FIN) vs  J Melzer (AUT)
D Brands (GER) vs B Becker (GER)
C Kas (GER) / V Troicki (SRB) vs C Fleming (GBR) / K Skupski (GBR)
Not Before 7:00 PM
 R Nadal (ESP) vs M Kukushkin (KAZ)
 E Gulbis (LAT) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
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