Nadal, Muguruza win; Williams sisters crash out

Nadal won a gold medal in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games, but he missed the 2012 London Olympics because of a knee injury that also forced him out of the U.S. Open later that season.

“My wrist is not perfect. My wrist needs more time,” the Spaniard said. “If it was a ‘normal’ tournament on the circuit, I wouldn’t be here. My wrist is not perfect. It isn’t 100 percent.”   -  AP

It was a good day in the office for Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza as they notched up easy wins in their opening matches at the Rio Games. But the tournament continued to script more surprises with No. 1 Women's Doubles seed pair of USA's Serena Williams and Venus Williams crashing out.

Muguruza recovered from an early break to win her Round one match 6-2, 6-2 against Andreea Mitu of Romania.

Left wrist 'not perfect' for Nadal

White tape peeking out from under the red sweat band on his injured left wrist, Rafael Nadal was back in action Sunday, playing his first match in 2 months.

And he was back at an Olympics for the first time in eight years.

“My wrist is not perfect. My wrist needs more time,” the Spaniard said. “If it was a ‘normal’ tournament on the circuit, I wouldn’t be here. My wrist is not perfect. It isn’t 100 percent.”

Nadal won a gold medal in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games, but he missed the 2012 London Olympics because of a knee injury that also forced him out of the U.S. Open later that season.

“There’s only one chance every four years to experience an Olympic Games. It’s something unforgettable,” said Nadal, who carried Spain’s flag during the opening ceremony. “I missed the last one in London, so I didn’t want to miss this one.”

As a former No. 1-ranked player and a 14-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal is one of his sport’s central figures, so his health is a significant topic in tennis. It was also the most noteworthy subject on a wind-swept, star-studded second afternoon of competition in Brazil that included straight-set wins by 2012 singles gold medalists Serena Williams and Andy Murray; top-seeded Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face Juan Martin del Potro at night.

During Williams’ uneven 6-4, 6-2 elimination of Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the main stadium, winds that reached 25 mph caused delays of about two hours on the eight smaller courts. Murray beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2 in less than one hour.

Sunday’s contest was Nadal’s first since he surprisingly showed up at a news conference at the French Open wearing a blue brace on his left wrist and announced he would be withdrawing from the clay-court tournament he has won a record nine times.

A question about the wrist arrived early in the English portion of his post-match session with reporters Sunday, and when the Spanish portion began with a query about the same topic, Nadal’s response started with a smile and these words — “I said it in English, and I’ll say it again in Spanish.”

Nadal appeared a tad tentative in the early going against Delbonis, a fellow left-hander who is ranked 43rd, but eventually displayed confidence with his heavy-topspin forehand, producing half of his 14 winners with that stroke.

Along the way to breaking for a 3-2 lead, Nadal smacked one down-the-line forehand winner, then threw a big uppercut and yelled, “Vamos” eliciting a loud roar from spectators. There was a nearly identical celebration, and crowd reaction, when the match concluded.

Nadal played cleanly, making only 15 unforced errors, while Delbonis made 31.

Williams sisters lose Olympic doubles

Serena and Venus Williams lost an Olympic doubles match for the first time, stunned in the opening round of the Rio de Janeiro Games by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4.

The Williams sisters entered Sunday’s match with a 15-0 career record in the Olympics, winning the gold medal in women’s doubles every time they entered the event- in 2000, 2008 and 2012.

The American duo was seeded No. 1 in Rio and coming off a 14th Grand Slam championship together at Wimbledon a month ago.