Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Madrid Masters following a 6-1, 7-6 triumph over Miomir Kecmanovic in an hour and 55 minutes. It was Nadal's first match since the Indian Wells final, and he had ups and downs, especially in the second set and from his backhand wing.
Still, a four-time champion at Caja Magica did enough to seal the deal in straight sets and advance into the next round against an in-form rival. The Spaniard lost serve twice in the second set and produced four breaks of serve.
Nadal hit 29 winners and 23 unforced errors, dominating with his forehand but spraying some loose backhand mistakes. Nadal made a strong start and held at 15 in the encounter's opening game. Kecmanovic placed a volley winner in game two for 30-30 and landed another to bring the game home and get his name on the scoreboard.
Miomir moved 30-15 in front in the third game before Rafa claimed three consecutive points and closed it after the youngster's forehand error.
Rafael Nadal is through to the third round at the Madrid Masters.
The home favorite grabbed a break in the fourth game with a smash winner for a massive boost after a grueling battle so far.
Nadal sprayed a couple of errors in the fifth game before closing it with a service winner for 4-1. The Spaniard earned a break chance in the sixth game with a smash winner, wasted it but created the second with a powerful winner.
Rafa placed a short forehand crosscourt winner to secure a break and open a 5-1 gap. Nadal grabbed the seventh game at love with a service winner for 6-1 in 36 minutes. Miomir held at 30 in the second set's opening game after Rafa's loose backhands.
The rain started to fall, and the players left Caja Magica until the roof covered the court. Nadal fended off a break point once they returned and leveled the score at 1-1. Both players served well in games three and four to remain neck and neck before Rafa fired a forehand down the line winner at 2-2 for a break at 15.
Eager to fight, Kecmanovic pulled the break back in the next one after an extended exchange and Nadal's forehand error. The seventh game was the most prolonged one, and Miomir saved a break chance with a forehand winner to remain on the positive side.
Nadal locked the result at 4-4 with a hold at 30, and he failed to create anything on the return in the next one, as Kecmanovic held at 15 for 5-4. The Spaniard fired two aces in game ten to prolong the set and gain momentum.
He created two break chances with a forehand crosscourt winner in game 11 and seized the first after Miomir's backhand error to open a 6-5 lead. Kecmanovic created a break chance after Nadal's backhand mistake, and Rafa sent another backhand beyond the baseline to experience a break and bring the rival back to 6-6.
The Spaniard opened a 2-1 gap before netting a routine backhand. He scored another mini-break in the next point for 3-2 before Miomir pulled it back instantly in the next one. Rafa sprayed another backhand error at 4-3 and stayed focused to move 5-4 ahead. Nadal earned two match points with a smash winner in the tenth point and sealed the deal with an ace in the next one.