Rafael Nadal matched his best career start to an ATP Tour season with a victory Tuesday in his first match since capturing the Australian Open title, reaching the second round of the Mexican Open. The 35-year-old Spanish left-hander defeated US lucky loser Dennis Kudla 6-3, 6-2 to book a hardcourt date with American Stefan Kozlov in the last 16.
"It has been a positive start, a good victory in straight sets. That's always very positive for the confidence," Nadal said. "I played a very solid match, a good effort today. Of course there are a couple of things that I can do better, but in general terms, I played well so I can't complain at all."
The victory lifted Nadal to 11-0 this year, matching his best career start to any season. He also won 11 matches in a row to begin the 2014 campaign before losing to Swiss Stan Wawrinka in an Australian Open final.