Charleroi: World number one Rafa Nadal had an easy ride on his return from injury when he dismissed Ruben Bemelmans 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to give Spain a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup first round match against Belgium on Friday.
The French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion dealt with the 144th-ranked Bemelmans in less than two hours on the indoor hard court at the Spiroudome in Charleroi, sealing victory when the Belgian went wide with an attempted winner.
Nadal was playing his first match since he damaged a muscle in his right leg during his Australian Open quarter-final defeat by compatriot David Ferrer at the end of January.
“He (Bemelmans) is the kind of player who is a bit tricky, especially for me coming back from a period out of action with injury,” Nadal said in an interview with Spanish television.
“I felt I was serving well, both on the first and second,” he added. “I felt comfortable and I think that in general it was a pretty controlled match throughout.”
World number nine Fernando Verdasco gave favourites Spain the lead when he beat Xavier Malisse 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening match. Verdasco had stepped in for the injured Ferrer.
The doubles match in the best-of-five tie is on Saturday with the reverse singles on Sunday.
Spain have dominated the Davis Cup in recent years, winning in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009. They were runners-up in 2003.