Rafael Nadal showed no rust Tuesday in Beijing. Playing in his first match in three months, Nadal crushed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the China Open.
Nadal, who missed the US hardcourt swing due to a right wrist injury, ran his record to 13-0 against the Frenchman after never getting broken and only losing three points on serve in the second set.
“In general I have to be happy the way that I played,” Nadal said. “After three months without a match, winning against a good player like Richard is a very positive comeback for me. 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: spending time on court, playing matches. 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.
“Today was an important day for me, the day that I am back,” he said. “To have the support of the people, this is important. It’s an important feeling to be back in competition. I’m very happy.”
Nadal moves on to face Peter Gojowczyk on Thursday.
“The draws are very hard,” he added. “[There are] very difficult players. Every single round is so tough. Every victory is very important for me. It’s very positive. At the moment I don’t aspire to win tournaments here in Asia. I go day by day. I am trying my best in every practice session, in every match, and let’s see how far I can go.”
Top seed and four-time champion Novak Djokovic kept his record perfect at the tournament improving to 20-0 after hammering Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-1. In addition to his title defense the Serb has the No. 1 ranking on his mind as well.
“I’m fighting for No. 1 in the world,” said Djokovic. “Of course, every tournament is important. This is already a huge motivation. I love competing. I love being on the court, being part of great tournaments like here in Beijing. Chinese people make me feel welcome, make me feel at home. This is definitely encouraging for me and for my motivation.”
Djokovic now meets Vasek Pospisil Wednesday.
Among the other winners on a perfect day for seeds were Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Ernests Gulbis and John Isner.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova advanced while Genie Bouchard lost to Sabine Lisicki.
“Tonight I was aware that I wanted to start out strong, and I think that was the main difference,” said Serena after a quick 6-2, 6-3 win over Pironkova. “I was just trying to make sure I was able to win a game early on.”
In Tokyo, Australian Open champion and top seed Stan Wawrinka was stunned by Tatsuma Ito 7-5, 6-2. The World No. 4 Wawrinka hasn’t made a tournament semifinal since Queen’s.
“It was not a good day at the office,” Wawrinka said. “He started well and then I was trying to come back in the match. First round matches are never easy. He played well, particularly at the end of the first set when he was very aggressive.”
The tournament also lost No. 3 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who fell to qualifier Michal Przysiezny in a final set breaker.
“I came here expecting to play good tennis, but I have not had much energy the past few days,” said Tsonga. “I have had a stomach virus, which has given me trouble. My body was not strong enough to compete at my best level. I tried my best on the court and gave everything.”
Today, Japanese hero Kei Nishikori returns to face Ivan Dodig.
BEIJING WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA –  P Kvitova (CZE) vs S Peng (CHN)
WTA – S Stosur (AUS) vs  C Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP –  N Djokovic (SRB) vs V Pospisil (CAN)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – C Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs  M Sharapova (RUS)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  J Isner (USA) vs T Robredo (ESP)
LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
ATP – [WC] V Troicki (SRB) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
ATP – P Andujar (ESP) vs  G Dimitrov (BUL)
NB completion 2nd on NTS – A Cornet (FRA) vs L Davis (USA)
WTA –  A Kerber (GER) vs S Kuznetsova (RUS)
ATP – After suitable rest – E Gulbis (LAT) / M Matkowski (POL) vs [WC] N Djokovic (SRB) / F Krajinovic (SRB)
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