After Slow Start, Rafael Nadal Rolls Bellucci In Brazil
by Staff | February 18th, 2015, 10:26 am

Playing his first clay match since his ninth French Open title last June, Rafael Nadal started slow but then found his form cruising past Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-1 in his Rio opener.

The two lefties traded no fewer than five breaks in a scratchy first set before Nadal broke at 4-4 then served out the set.

Nadal then rolled in the second to win his 15th match in Brazil without a loss. The defending champion now faces young countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round on Thursday.

No. 2 seed David Ferrer also advanced in three sets.

You Might Like:
Nishikori, Thiem, Clay Floaters Make ATP Rio a Tough Slough; Preview
Roger Federer’s South American Exhibition Schedule
FACT: Roger Federer Will Dance The Samba In Brazil Next Month [Video]
Verdasco, Gulbis Showdown Friday in Barcelona
Cilic, Thiem, Carreno Busta Favorites at ATP Rio; Preview

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

29 Comments for After Slow Start, Rafael Nadal Rolls Bellucci In Brazil

Giles Says:

Sooooo clever Champ!

Hippy Chick Says:

Okie i dont know if you saw it?but i read a post on Bleacher report one poster saying its about time Rafa was given a stiffer test at RG,let him play Nishikori,Wawarinka,Djokovic and really earn the title,to which i shook my head and thought err WHAT? jeez with 9 FO titles just what has the guy left to prove there anymore?,now i dont post on Bleacher,but i was very tempted to start,and give the guy a piece of my mind….

Giles Says:

Bleacher Report = a bunch of cranks! Excuse them for they know not what they say! Lol

Hippy Chick Says:

Giles i dont post on other forums,and i have no intention,i just view the posts out of sheer curiosity sometimes,anyway your right you would think its down to everyone else with a point to prove at RG,but certainly not Rafa?….

Emily Says:

I don’t know why I read Bleacher Report sometimes, maybe b/c the fashion analysis is mildly amusing. They seem to hate on almost every player at some point and I agree Giles, they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Also, didn’t Rafa already play Novak at RG?

Okiegal Says:

@Chick…..No I didn’t read it but I ‘ll make it a point to. I do go to Bleacher report from time to to time but have never posted there either. But the person who made that comment doesn’t know much about the tennis world cause that ain’t the way it’s done. How many Wimbledons does Federer have? In his hay day he should have played Rafa first? Is that what the poster was saying? Yeah right, that would have gone over like a pregnant pole vaulter. The haters can not stand the fact that Rafa has 9. Never fear peeps, he to will finally succumb to a loss there, unless he retires first…..hoping that does not happen……Oh well not at all surprised by that stupid remark. When it comes to Rafa, people can get carried away.

Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal hes beaten Corria,Federer,Ferrer,Djokovic,Sodaling in finals at RG,all top 10 players,last year he beat Ferrer,Murray,Djokovic,but people still dont believe hes earned his 9 titles or the right to be called the clay GOAT i suppose,i just wonder sometimes when it comes to Rafa hes not allowed to be regarded as an all time great,and have records that are his and his alone?….

senorita Says:

Rafa is 6:0 against Djokovic at RG. If people are going to comment on tennis they should know what they are talking about. In fact the very first time Rafa and Nole played each on the pro tour was at RG IN 2006.

The first 3 times they played at RG Nole didn’t even win a set.

Hippy Chick Says:

My post wasnt actually about Nole,but more of an overall generalisation about the amount of times Rafas won the FO,and the way the posters on Bleacher Report dont seem to regard as really worthy,and claim he has to earn them,hell if he aint already done that then he never will,in fact nobody ever will?….

Patson Says:

Haters gonna hate ladies. Besides, the anonymity of the internet allows haters to say all sort of vile stuff without any repercussions. Can’t recall how many times I’ve glossed over hateful comments for Nole.

I wish there was a way to hand someone a ‘virtual punch’ which somehow translates to ‘physical pain’ for the person. In other words, there should be some sort of deterrence to stupidity on the internet. The fear of a ‘virtual punch’ will make people think twice before they spurt garbage.

Anonymity is not a license for stupidity.

Senorita Says:

Rafa has played Stan once at RG and beat him 3, 2 & 1 and Rafa also beat Kei at RG 2013, in straight sets, 4, 1 & 3.

Brando Says:


Spot on Patson!

Some of the user comments I read on sport pages for others sports outside Tennis:

Yikes man is there some real crazy thinking out there!

The level of venom is just unreal at times. Insane. In contemporary sport:

If you or a team are successful you are going to have ALOT of haters out there. It just comes with the territory.

But individuals like Nadal, sport teams etc just could not care less. They probably never even see it, and it certainly does not knock them out of their stride.

It is what it is: the gutter of the 21st century!

sienna Says:

Only one player can upset Rafa at Garros.
His name starts with C and ends with ilic.

And Cilic needs to be fit like USOpen fit and it needs to be HOT hardcourt liked or cold windy rainy Soderling like.

Anyways only Cilic with usopen form can bring Nadal down.

chris ford1 Says:

Wishing Rafa good health because I want the great Nadal-Djokovic struggle to continue. The ultimate warrior and foe for Rafa has turned out to be Novak Djokovic, who he has faced on all courts, including in each Major at the Finals…something Fedal never did.
Right now I would say Rafa is still better than Nole on Clay, but the gap is significantly narrowing. It used to be almost as huge as the gap between Rafa and other players. Maybe they are even-Steven on grass, and Nole better on hardcourts but not immune from Rafa coming in and cleaning his clock at times.

Brando Says:

Ah yes:

Marin Cilic- the guy Novak Djokovic luckily avoided to win the Australian Open right? LOL.

Marin Cilic:

Poor guy was saying to world how he was fortunate not to play Nadal, Djokovic, Murray i.e. returners of the highest order post his win and Einstein has it the other way round.

Let’s look at his game changing win:

– R16: Simon: He barely beats him in the 5th.

– QF: Berdych: Hardly Mr Consistent on the big stage.

– SF: Federer: He beats a 33 year old clearly tired from a gruelling 5 set match prior to this one.

– F: Nishikori: He beats a player who many recognized as running on empty after playing 14 sets v Raonic, Wawrinka, Djokovic.

The only top 4 player he beat was a tired 33 year old.

The finalist he faced was running on empty.

And he beat the mighty Berdych: Tomas is hardly anyone’s idea of Mr Rock solid consistency in big matches.

Put Simply:

Marin had a gift of an opportunity and he took it. Well played to him. But for no reason did he point out that him not facing Djokovic, Nadal or Murray helped his cause.

Only a complete fool will extrapolate one performance- which one saw coming, nor do they expect a repeat of- to such a height that the likes of Djokovic at AO, Nadal at FO or Murray at Wimbledon best start praying to avoid him as they’ll get beat by him.

And oh:

Cilic h2h v Djokovic, Nadal, Murray: 3 – 23

Post USO: 0-2

Yep, he does spell trouble for those returners no?

Brando Says:

‘ot immune from Rafa coming in and cleaning his clock at times’:

LMFAO- first I have ever heard of such expression being used. Cleaning his clock- lol, like it.

Sidney Says:

@sienna, thanks I needed that after a rough day at work. Don’t ever stop. Please.


Okiegal Says:

@Brando…….Cleaning one’s clock is a favorite saying in Oklahoma…..I like it too!! Chris Ford, are you from Oklahoma or Texas by chance?? LOL :)

Michael Says:

Rafa is in his familiar terrain where he usually plays his best Tennis. Even when he was lying low some times in the past, it was clay courts that gave him a fresh lease of life and he carried over this confidence to other courts to become the Great player that he is. This time too he needs another exceptional performance in his favourite turf to get his sapping confidence back. At the moment, he is looking extremely vulnerable coming he was after a surgery and it normally takes some time to settle in. But he is left with little breathing space with his fans who are impatient and expect instant results. His critics too are eager to write him off after some set backs of late perceiving that he is aging and appear burnt out with his style of Tennis placing enormous burden on his body. But, Rafa has always managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the past and show that he is still alive and kicking. Will this time be any different ? Only time can tell. But it is always a great misake to write off legendary players like Rafa as they always have the ability to strike back with a vengeance and make your earlier prognosis a butt of ridicule.

skeezer Says:

If Rafa has a slow start on a 250 Clay event the sky must be fallng. Trying to Rafa hype this event is laughable.

Hippy Chick Says:

No hype Skeezer,im just enjoying watching him ;)….

Hamza Says:

Ah! A Platinum member of The Church of Roger Federer leaves a stinker once again. Nothing surprising though.

Giles Says:

Poor old skeezer. His eyesight is failing him. He thinks Rio is a 250 event! Lol

Felipe Says:

The only player with chances against nadal between 2005 – 2007 was Nalbandian, a fit Nalbandian. Somehow he never faced Nadal during the clay season (always facing federer). He openly said that Nadals style was good for him, specially the return of serve and the use of his amazing backhand. In fact, the first 2 matches between them were 61 62 / 64 60 Nalbandian, and in 2009 (world number 1 Nadal) fat Nalbandian was leading 63 53 and wasted 5 matchs points before losing 36 76 60.
Between 2008 and 2010 nobody was a treat (until the Soderling surprise), and from 2011 clearly Djokovic is the only one with real chances. In fact, since 2011 Nadal leads 5-4 (3-0 Roland Garros), and the 4 losses have been in Master Series finals (Rome 2011 / 2014; Montecarlo 2013; Madrid 2011).

The Great Davy Says:

^The Great Davy was also greatly unfortunate not to play Nadal at RG. 2007 would have been a good year for the Great Upset if the draw were different.

herome Says:

Bleacher report always giving opinions biased against Rafa Nadal. I have given up reading their articles… Too biased against one of the tennis legends. Lols !!!

Brando Says:

Good luck Rafa!

Okiegal Says:

@Brando…..He won against Busta, but he scared me a little bit in the process. Did you watch it?? If so what was your take on his game today?? The match certainly wasn’t a run away. Curious about your thoughts.

metan Says:

Yes, Rafa is through to the next round.

Top story: 11 Things I Think I Thought About Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka And The Australian Open