Rafael Nadal made light of the windy conditions to take his place in the second round of the French Open today.
The defending champion beat 20-year-old Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci 7-5 6-3 6-1 in two hours and 34 minutes to stay on course to become the first man since Bjorn Borg to win four consecutive singles titles at Roland Garros.
It was Nadal’s 22nd consecutive victory in the tournament and, after being stretched in the first set when he lost his serve twice, he was in total control of a match which had started in the rain last night before being called off at 1-1 in the first set.
Bellucci, a left-hander with promising groundstrokes, could hardly have had a more difficult assignment for his debut in a Grand Slam and he was betrayed by nerves when he double faulted on set point in the first set to hand Nadal the initiative.
The Brazilian tried to increase the aggression in the second set but Nadal was in the groove and in the third set the Spaniard’s power became overwhelming.
Nadal now plays another left-hander, French qualifier Nicolas Devilder, in the second round.