ATP Acapulco: Rafael Nadal eases past Pablo Andujar for a winning start


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ATP Acapulco: Rafael Nadal eases past Pablo Andujar for a winning start

Competing for the first time since the Australian Open, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal is off to a winning start in Acapulco, beating Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 30 minutes for the 16th win at this event from 18 matches.

Rafa didn't play that well, which was expected after a long break, searching for his shots and producing a higher level in set number two to topple the compatriot and set the second-round clash with the young Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.

The 19-time Major champion lost serve twice but that couldn't upset him, taking more than a half points in the return games and stealing the rival's serve five times from ten opportunities, delivering 26 winners and 23 unforced errors to leave a compatriot behind.

Andujar grabbed a break in the very first game following a forehand error from Rafa, holding at love with a forehand down the line winner in game two to confirm the advantage and settle into a fine rhythm. Nadal broke back in game four following a backhand mistake from the opponent, moving 3-2 in front with a service winner and producing another break for a 4-2 lead when Pablo sprayed a massive forehand error from an ideal position.

Andujar saved three set points on serve at 2-5 before a former champion closed the opener with a hold at 15 for a 6-3 after 47 minutes. A forehand crosscourt winner secured a break at 15 for Rafa at the beginning of the second set, cementing it with a hold at love to grab 11 of the last 12 points and control the pace of the scoreboard completely.

Pablo sent a backhand wide to suffer another break in game five and push Nadal further in front, pulling one break back in the next game when Rafa's slice finished outside the court. Returning at 4-2, Nadal clinched another break with a smash winner, sealing the deal with a hold a few minutes later to book the place in the last 16.