The inaugural edition of the Rio Open took place in February 2014, with eight-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal leading the way. Nadal made an impressive comeback in the previous season to conquer the number 1 of the year.
The Spaniard kept on the same path at the beginning of 2014 with the Doha title and the Australian Open final. Rafa suffered a huge setback in Melbourne, injuring his back and losing the title match to Stan Wawrinka in four sets.
Returning to action three weeks later in Rio, Rafa defeated fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-5. Nadal delivered three breaks and prevailed in the decisive moments of the second set to avoid spending more time on court.
Rafa got rid of Albert Montañés 6-1 and 6-2 in 75 minutes in the second round. He maintained that level against Joao Sousa to enter the semi-finals after losing just one game. Against the third Spaniard of the week, Nadal had to work hard to defeat Pablo Andújar 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, winning 12-10 in the tie break after overcoming two match points.
Andújar went all out against Nadal, earning two more points and suffering only two breaks from the four opportunities offered to his compatriot. On the contrary, Rafa has rejected 11 of 14 break chances, five of six in the decider.
The legend stayed in touch until the closing stages, when he crossed the finish line in first place after a thrilling encounter. Andújar converted the fourth break chance in the first game of the encounter and widened the lead to 5-2 with a forehand return winner in game seven.
Rafa played a dropshot in the eighth game to hand the first game to Pablo, having to work harder from the second set to avoid defeat. Andújar suffered a break in the fourth game of the second set after a backhand error.
Rafael Nadal is in Buenos Aires
Rafael Nadal is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as part of his Latin American exhibition tour with World No. 3 Casper Ruud. “In the past there was Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Lendl. Today we are and there is no one more important than sport.
Every year there will be four Grand Slam champions and multiple historical champions. The next generation will continue to forge their way with the titles. Time will generate stars that are on the way,” he said, as per ESPN Tenis.
“Because of the contrast of styles, personalities and affinity, and for sharing so many beautiful things on and off the court, Roger Federer’s retirement was saying goodbye to an important part of my life,” he remarked.