World No.2 Rafael Nadal made a scintillating comeback on the tour at the Italian Open 2020. Playing his first match in over six months, Nadal defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets. The 9-time Italian Open champion is aiming to win a record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 title.
During the post-match conference, Nadal revealed whether it was difficult playing without spectators. The organizers at the Italian Open also followed the US Open protocols. This meant that they didn’t allow any audiences.
“Well, it’s a strange feeling. It’s not beautiful, the feeling of playing without the spectators because the energy of the fans is impossible to describe,” said Nadal, admitting to missing the fans in Rome.
Rafael Nadal displayed exemplary dominance
Nadal raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set, closing out the opening set with an ace. In the second set, Nadal broke Carreno Busta’s serve at 1-1 to close out the match in over 73 minutes at the Foro Italico. The 19-time Grand Slam champion also improved his head-to-head record against Busta to 6-0.
“But for me, at least, today has been a very positive comeback. I played a solid match,” added Nadal after reaching the third round.
The Spaniard acknowledged that his opponent was a little tired after having a superb run at the US Open 2020. Carreno Busta reached the semifinals at Flushing Meadows and lost to Alexander Zverev in five-sets despite winning the opening two sets.
The “King of Clay” will face either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic in the third round of the Italian Open. Nadal has a winning head-head record against both players. The defending champion had defeated his arch-rival, Novak Djokovic, in last year’s final at Rome.