Spanish great Rafael Nadal beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the round of 16 in the Rio 2016 Olympic tennis tournament but top-ranked American Serena Wiliams was upset by Elina Svitolina in straight sets.
Nadal’s win followed losses earlier on Tuesday by compatriots David Ferrer, Carla Suarez and GarbiAe Muguruza that left Nadal — the gold medalist at the 2012 London Games — as Spain’s only option for a medal in singles play, reports Efe.
The Olympics mark Nadal’s return to competition after a two-month hiatus due a wrist injured that forced him to withdraw from the French Open.
World No. 5 Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the 71st-ranked Italian, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2012, and rolled to a fairly easy victory.
Serena was off the pace against the Ukrainian Svitolina, and was close to tears after her loss. She has reportedly been struggling with a shoulder problem, but was still expected to reach the semi-finals at the very least.
She and sister Venus Williams had already been knocked out of the women’s doubles in the very first event itself, which concludes a frustrating Olympics for the defending champion in both singles and doubles.
Svitolina’s reward for beating the powerful American is a quarterfinal date with Petra Kvitová.
Nadal will next play Gilles Simon of France, who beat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-6 (3), 6-2.