After an hour-long delay for rain, Rafael Nadal advanced to the second round at the Rio Open on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.
Nadal won gold in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but missed the 2012 London Olympics with an injury. Despite being asked about it repeatedly, he’s staying away from talking about the Rio Games that open in six months.
“The Olympics is a very important event, a very special one, and I’m going to try my best when the Olympics arrive,” Nadal said. “But for now I’m playing the ATP tournament in Rio. That’s the most important thing for me.”
Also advancing on Tuesday were No 2 David Ferrer, who beat Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-3, 7-6 (3), and No 5 Dominic Thiem, who had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pablo Andujar of Spain.
Not much will faze Thiem in this week’s Rio Open.
He beat Nadal — the king of clay — last week in the semifinals in Buenos Aires, and then won the event for his fourth career title, all of which have come on the red dirt.
“Both things gave me a lot of confidence, but after the match with Nadal I wanted to give everything to win the tournament,” the 22-year-old Austrian said. “The win against Rafa would have been worth only half if I had lost the final.”
No 3 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had his match against Thiago Monteiro rained out . They will play on Wednesday.
In first-round upsets, Federico Delbonis of Argentina beat sixth-seeded Jack Sock of the United States 7-5, 6-1 and Alexandr Dolgopolov upset No 8 seed Thomaz Bellucci 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2.
On the women’s side, top-seeded Teliana Pereira of Brazil lost 6-3, 7-5 to Petra Martic of Croatia, and second-seeded Johanna Larsson of Sweden defeated Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 7-5, 6-4.
Pereira’s early loss is a blow for the women’s side of the combined WTA-ATP event on outdoor clay. She is only ranked No. 43 but gave local organisers a hometown favourite.