Tennis - Nadal shrugs off sore back to win Rio opener

Rafael Nadal showed no signs of back trouble in a 6-3 7-5 first-round win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver in Rio de Janeiro.

Tennis - Nadal shrugs off sore back to win Rio opener

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BRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro : Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Spanish tennis player Daniel Gimeno Traver during the 2014 Rio Open at the Jockey Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO

Nadal, the world number one, struggled with the problem during his Australian Open final defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka but seemed fully fit as he ousted his fellow Spaniard in straight sets.

"Daniel is a specialist on clay, so for me it was a great match after so much time off after the final in Australia because of the back problems," Nadal said.

"I practiced very little. So I was happy to get back, and get back with a victory."

Next up for Nadal is another Spaniard, Albert Montanes, who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 6-1 7-6(4).

The event in Brazil boasts many of the world’s best clay-court players, with second seed David Ferrer also progressing with a 6-2 6-3 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

But Nadal is undoubtedly the main draw, with third seed Fabio Fognini paying tribute following his topsy-turvy 7-6 0-6 6-1 victory over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene.

"For Rio, for the Brazilian people, for everybody it's nice because he's No. 1 in the world," the Italian said. "For the tournament, especially because it's the first year, I think it will help."

The only real surprises of the first round were defeats for fifth and sixth-seeded Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Marcel Granollers, who went down in three sets to Alexandr Dolgopolov and Joao Sousa.

First-round results:

1-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver (Spain) 6-3 7-5

Albert Montanes (Spain) beat Robin Haase (Netherlands) 6-1 7-6(4)

2-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Jeremy Chardy (France) 6-2 6-3

3-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Aljaz Bedene (Slovenia) 7-6(5) 0-6 6-1

Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) beat Alejandro Gonzalez (Colombia) 6-7(0) 6-1 6-3

7-Juan Monaco (Argentina) beat Horacio Zeballos (Argentina) 6-3 6-1

4-Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat Pablo Carreno (Spain) 7-6(5) 6-3

Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat 6-Marcel Granollers (Spain) 2-6 6-3 7-5

Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) beat 5-Nicolas Almagro (Spain) 2-6 6-3 6-0

Albert Ramos (Spain) beat Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) 6-2 6-0

8-Pablo Andujar (Spain) beat Julian Reister (Germany) 6-4 6-3

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