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Rafa Nadal aiming for a solid run at the China Open

The world number four saw off 39th-ranked Italian Paolo Lorenzi with ease, 6-1, 6-1, as he seeks to tie down qualification for the World Tour Finals.

Rafa Nadal aiming for a solid run at the China Open
Lintao Zhang Getty Images

Rafael Nadal barrelled through his opening match of the China Open on Tuesday as he seeks to redeem his injury-blighted season with a strong run in Beijing.

Nadal dropped just two games to 39th-ranked Italian Paolo Lorenzi, as top seed Andy Murray dismissed Andreas Seppi to book his place in the second round.

Rain delayed play on all courts other than the roofed National Tennis Stadium until the evening.

Two seasons with no Nadal slam

Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal is approaching the end of his second consecutive season without a Slam title since he won his first aged 19 at Roland Garros in 2005.

He has repeatedly fended off questions about his future in the sport since he was forced out of the French Open third round with a wrist injury that also saw him miss Wimbledon.

"When you get injury for two months and a half in the middle of the season [it] is tough," Nadal said after his first round match in Beijing.

"[There] remains a little bit to finish the season. Today is an important victory. There are points to try [and win] to qualify for the World Tour Finals," he added.

World Tour Finals qualification

Nadal is currently eighth on the leaderboard for the London ATP Finals -- which features the year's top eight players -- and needs to pick up some points in Beijing to ensure his qualification.

Until the wrist injury forced him off the court, Nadal had showed signs of a renaissance this year after his worst season as a professional in 2015, which saw him plummet to his lowest ranking in a decade.

But he has failed to get past the fourth round of any of the Grand Slams this year and just missed out on a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.

Muguruza through

Meanwhile, defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza booked her spot in the last 16, downing 21-year-old Yulia Putintseva in her second-round match.

The Spaniard has her eyes on making her second consecutive WTA Finals -- the elite eight-player season finale -- and needs to reach the final in Beijing to guarantee her qualification this week.