Rafael Nadal marked his first appearance since winning the US Open with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Rubens Bemelmans in Bangkok.
Spaniard Verdasco, the second seed, knocked out by Becker
Rafael Nadal marked his first appearance since winning the US Open with a routine 6-1 6-4 victory over Rubens Bemelmans in Bangkok.
Making his debut in the Thailand Open, world number one Nadal cruised past the Belgian qualifier to register his 60th win of the year.
The Spaniard, who was the firm favourite of the sell-out crowd, converted three of his five break-point opportunities to reach the quarter-finals.
Next up for Nadal will be Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan after he saw off Belgian Olivier Rochus, who had knocked out Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round, 6-4 5-7 6-3.
“The first round for sure is never easy,” Nadal said afterwards.
“I had some time off ater winning the US Open and spent a week in this great country. I played well but I must improve for the next match.”
It was not such a good day for Nadal’s compatriot Fernando Verdasco, the second seed going down to a 6-4 6-4 loss at the hands of Benjamin Becker.
Verdasco, who had not played indoors since February, trailed 5-1 in the opening set. He then gave away the ninth game in a tight second by sending down a fourth double fault, allowing German Becker to serve out for the win.
“The start was the toughest past,” he said. “I haven’t played indoors for so long. He had a match already and was comfortable on the surface.
“He played better than me today and deserved the win.”
Viktor Troicki also tumbled out, Jarkko Nieminen seeing off the seventh seed 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.