ATP Tour

Nadal seeks redemption in Beijing

2016-10-04 13:00
Rafael Nadal (Getty)

Beijing - Rafael Nadal barrelled through his opening match of the China Open Tuesday as he seeks to redeem his injury-blighted season with a strong run in Beijing.

Nadal dropped just two games to 39th-ranked Italian Paolo Lorenzi, beating him 6-1, 6-1 to reach the round of 16.

Top seed Andy Murray booked his place in the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Andreas Seppi who failed to capitalise on a late surge as he double faulted twice in the final game.

Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal is approaching the end of his second consecutive season without a Slam title since he won his first aged 19 at Roland Garros in 2005.

He has repeatedly fended off questions about his future in the sport since he was forced out of the French Open third round with a wrist injury that also saw him miss Wimbledon.

"When you get injury for two months and a half in the middle of the season (it) is tough," Nadal said after his first round match in Beijing.

"(There) remains a little bit to finish the season. Today is an important victory. There are points to try (and win) to qualify for the World Tour Finals," he added.

Nadal is currently eighth on the leaderboard for the London ATP Finals - which features the year's top eight players - and needs to pick up some points in Beijing to ensure his qualification.

Until the wrist injury forced him off the court, Nadal had showed signs of a renaissance this year after his worst season as a professional in 2015 saw him plummet to his lowest ranking in a decade.

But he has failed to get past the fourth round of any of the Grand Slams this year and just missed out on a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.

Murray is also targeting a strong Beijing run, which could put him in striking distance of dethroning world number one Novak Djokovic.

The Scot added a second Wimbledon title and Olympic gold medal to his collection, and also reached the final of the Australian and French Opens this season.

But September was a month of disappointments as he was ousted in the quarter finals of the US Open by Japan's Kei Nishikori and missed out to a second consecutive Davis Cup win, losing to Argentina.

"What I needed after that stretch was a break. I needed some time away from the court to rest and recover, freshen up a bit, hopefully have a strong finish to the year," Murray told reporters in Beijing.

Meanwhile on the women's side, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova - fresh from her victory at the Wuhan Open last week - showed little mercy for home hope Wang Yafan beating her 6-4, 6-1 to reach the round of 16.

As the evening drew in, play finally got underway on the outer courts, which got a heavy watering as rain enveloped the Chinese capital for most of the day.

Results from the ATP/WTA China Open in Beijing on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):

Men's singles

First round

Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-2, 7-5

Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-1, 6-1

Women's singles

Second round

Petra Kvitova (CZE x14) bt Wang Yafan (CHN) 6-4, 6-1

Read more on:    china open  |  rafael nadal  |  tennis

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