Rafa Nadal has made his debut with victory over Pablo Carreño in the second round of the Rome Open, second Masters 1000 of the season and first on clay. In just over an hour, the 'king' of Rome -9 titles- has paid for its premiere.
On clay is where world number two lifted his last title. Two hundred days after his conquest of Acapulco Nadal reappeared on the slopes against the Asturian, brand new semifinalist of the past US Open precisely where Rafa vacated the title for Thiem .
Both had been exempt from the first round, Nadal by ranking and Carreño by their classification in Flashing Meadows. And from what was seen in the first set -and throughout the match-, the Asturian paid more for fatigue and jet lag than the Manacorian's inactivity.
Rafa solved the first round in just over half an hour thanks to two 'breaks'. The first of them, in the fourth game, broke the resistance of Carreño who had dared to try to snatch the service from the world's number two as soon as he started.
Another half hour was enough for Nadal to get the second set on track with two more breaks. Carreño despaired giving away mistakes and seeing how his rival went to everything to return a string of winning blows .
It took him a few more minutes to certify the victory, the 991st of his career with 1,000 at hand . It is also number 437 on clay and the eleventh in a row at the Foro Italico in Rome, where it is the absolute king with nine titles and 62 games won.