Nadal wins on return in Acapulco
Former world number one Rafael Nadal made a winning return to the ATP Tour with victory over Mischa Zverev at the Mexican Open.
Nadal was playing for the first time since the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, where the 17-time grand slam champion was humbled by Novak Djokovic in the final.
There were signs of rust in Acapulco but Nadal – whose two Mexican Open titles came when the ATP 500 tournament was held on clay – was too good for Zverev 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday.
Top seed Nadal advanced in one hour, 21 minutes as he set up a mouth-watering last-16 clash against Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal showed flashes of his brilliance from the outset, with the world number two dominating on the Mexican hard courts.
Bullying his German opponent with his powerful hitting, Nadal broke Zverev for a 3-1 lead and it was an advantage he never relinquished.
Nadal fended off one break point in the opener as the Spaniard reeled off three successive points from 15-30 to close out the first set with an aggressive volley at the net.
He had the chance to start the second set with a break but Zverev managed to deny the 32-year-old until Nadal broke through in the seventh game, which proved decisive.