Nadal breezes into Thailand Open quarterfinals

September 30, 2010 12:41 PM
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) - Rafael Nadal dispatched qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4 Thursday in his Thailand Open debut.

In his first match since winning the U.S. Open, the top-ranked Nadal lost only eight points on serve.

Nadal arrived in Thailand nine days ago, receiving a hero's welcome from government and sports officials when he landed in Bangkok. In Friday's quarterfinals, Nadal will meet either Olivier Rochus or Mikhail Kukushkin.

Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco lost to Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4. Verdasco, who accepted a wild card to play, fell behind 4-0 in the first set.

Verdasco dropped the ninth game of the second set on a double-fault, and Becker held serve with an impressive volley to close the match.

``It was tough. I was practicing well but the match was different,'' Verdasco said. ``He played better than me. He adapted better than me, he served well and didn't make many unforced errors. He deserved the victory more than me.''

Seventh-seeded Viktor Troicki - last year's finalist - lost 7-6 (4), 6-2 to Jarkko Nieminen.

With a first-round bye, Nadal spent time in the beach town of Hua Hin. He took part in a religious ceremony with Buddhist monks and planted a tree in King Bhumibol Adulyadej's campaign against global warming.

Back in Bangkok, he delayed a visit with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Parliament so he could practice. He showed no rust after completing the career Grand Slam in New York.