Nadal, Djokovic and Murray enjoy Beijing wins
BEIJING (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal enjoyed an emphatic return to singles action as he powered past Richard Gasquet at the China Open on Tuesday, while world number one Novak Djokovic overcame a sluggish start to continue his perfect run in Beijing.
Spanish world number two Nadal, playing his first singles match in three months due to a wrist injury, extended his record to 13-0 against the Frenchman with a brisk 6-4 6-0 win after Djokovic had beaten Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-1.
Briton Andy Murray also maintained his good form in China but was made to dig deep before grinding out a 6-7(9) 6-4 6-2 victory over Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in a night match.
An early break for Nadal in the third game put him on course for the first set but only after the left hander saved a break point with an ace when trying to serve it out.
A dejected Gasquet was then broken in the opening game of the second set as Nadal's confidence soared, the Spaniard pummeling some trademark forehand winners as he wrapped up the first-round win with a 27th fizzing winner.
Nadal's last match before Beijing was a last 16 defeat to Australian Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon.
"Three months without a match, winning against a player who is a good player like Richard, is a very positive comeback for me," Nadal told reporters.
The Spaniard will face German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in the second round after the world number 122 defeated big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-4 2-6 7-5.
Djokovic had less time away than Nadal but showed more rust in his first appearance on the ATP Tour since losing to Kei Nishikori in the U.S. Open semi-finals this month. Continued...