TENNISFILES (February 17) – Rafael Nadal advanced to the second round of the Rio Open, defeating hometown favorite Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4 6-1.
The number one seed broke Bellucci in the fifth game of the match. However both players struggled to hold, and neither held serve again until Nadal closed out the first set.
Nadal ran away with the second set, racing to a 4-0 lead before Bellucci could stop the bleeding. The match ended with a long backhand from the Brazilian.
David Ferrer defeated his friend and compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-4 6-3. Ferrer was tested early, needing to save 5 break points in the first service game.
Gimeno-Traver was on the brink of serving for the first set, but let three break points slip away at 4-4 before Ferrer served out the set. The second set was all Ferrer. Both had ten break point opportunities, but it was the number two seed who capitalized on four of them to his opponent’s two.
Fourth seeded Italian Fabio Fognini squeezed by Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 1-6, 7-6, 6-1. Despite being thrashed in the first set and being down a match point, the fourth seed won the second set with help from a Vesely double fault at 6-5 in the tiebreak.
Just a couple days earlier, Nadal enjoyed carnival with Ferrer and native Gustavo Kuerten.