RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rafael Nadal showed no signs of a tender back Tuesday, defeating fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Rio Open.
It was No. 1-ranked Nadal's first match since losing three weeks ago in the Australia Open final against Stanislas Wawrinka, a match the Spaniard was a heavy favorite to win.
Nadal tweaked his back warming up for the final in Australia, bringing up questions again about his health to start a season. A year ago he was coming back from a left knee injury, which he overcame to win the French and US Open.
Nadal looked fine on the outdoor red clay, showed no signs of back trouble, and seems headed for a possible final Sunday against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Ferrer defeated Jeremy Chardy in his first-round match 6-2, 6-3.
Nadal broke Gimeno-Traver in the sixth game en route to taking the first set. The two were even in the second set until Nadal broke in the 11th game and then served out to win.