Rafael Nadal ignored two days of indifferent training sessions in rainy London, gathering his game together to win his 2010 grass debut 6-2, 6-2, over Marcos Daniel for a place in the third round at Queen’s club.
Nadal set the pace for second seed Novak Djokovic — the man the Spaniard beat to win the 2008 final and claim his first career grass title — who opened with a 6-3, 6-3 result over Italian Paolo Lorenzi as sun broke through in late afternoon in west London.
“I practised very bad yesterday,” said Nadal. “I really would love to have had the doubles before the singles, but anyway, today during the match I felt well.
“I was returning well, that’s the most difficult thing for me. I was serving well in Roland Garros and I did the same here, I think.” Nadal and Daniel were called off the court with Nadal up a set and 2-1 after 39 minutes when light rain began. But the interruption was minor, with not even a warm-up required to complete the 52-minute win.
Nadal fired six aces as he played the Wimbledon tune-up for the first time since winning it in 2008 on the way to a title at the All-England club. He missed last year’s grass campaign because of knee problems.
Djokovic, still searching for another title after winning Dubai in February, took his 26th victory of the season against eight losses.
Fifth-seed Marin Cilic had a slow start, going the distance before stopping 2007 finalist Nicolas Mahut of France, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-2.
American seventh-seed Sam Querrey is back after storming home in a huff to California from Paris after losing in the first round to good friend Robby Ginepri. Querrey returned the favour 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in London to advance.
Querrey admitted that he was worn out from the clay season by the time Paris came around and after flying to LA did not pick up a racket for almost a week.
“It’s nice to come to London because you are here the entire month. I’m staying here with my family and some friends. I don’t have to go anywhere for the full month, where the clay court season is city to city.” Spanish eighth-seed Feliciano Lopez joined Nadal with a defeat of Bulgarian teenager Gregory 6-2, 6-4.
American Mardy Fish scored a minor upset as the Floridian took out 13th-seed Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, while 14th-seed Dudi Sela beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-5, 6-2 and Denis Istomin moved into a match with Nadal by beating dreadlocked Jamaican Dustin Brown 7-6 (9-7), 6-4.
Nadal said that despite returning to the ATP top ranking and sending Roger Federer back to second, he’s not excited about the numbers game.
“Number one, it’s very good news, but it makes me more happy to be healthy, have the opportunity to compete at the top level, and sure, win Roland Garros again.”
Keywords: Queen’s club championship