MC: Rafa Nadal wins Opener


World No. 2 Rafael Nadal The King of Clay makes his return to his beloved surface, in his opened bid for a record eighth successive Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters crown on Wednesday with a 6-4 6-3 win over Jarkko Nieminen.
The Spaniard only suffered one slip-up, losing serve at 5-2 in the second set, but immediately broke Nieminen’s serve again for the fourth time in the following game to claim the win in 86 minutes. It was his seventh win in seven meetings with the No. 48-ranked Nieminen.
Victory marked Nadal’s 38th straight win at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, dating back to a third-round loss to Guillermo Coria in 2003, when he was just 16 years old. Since 2005 he has won seven consecutive titles and compiled a 40-1 tournament mark.

For a place in the quarter-finals, Nadal will face Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin, who defeated Italy’s Filippo Volandri 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes.

"We need days to see how all the sensations improve: the knees, the tennis, everything," said Nadal. "When you stop for 15 days without practice, physical performance, practice tennis, your body loses a little bit the performance. That's usual. I need practice, and today was a good practice. Tomorrow is going to be another tough match against a player who is dangerous. We'll see what's going to happen."

Vamos Rafa!


Check out the slideshow for more photos!

Photos: SINA, AP/Reuters
Source: ATP

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