Since this was Rafa's first foray into tournaments for three months, we weren't expecting miracles in China.
First up was doubles with Pablo Andujar. Naturally, we weren't able to see this on tv but at least we have one small clip.
They were playing Tomas Berdych and John Isner. Despite rallying to take the second set, they eventually lost in the super-tiebreak, 5-7, 6-4, 4-10.
First up for singles was Richard Gasquet. Although on paper a tricky opener, Gasquet hasn't beaten Rafa in ten years. This was no different. The following hot shot wasn't the only Rafa classic in this match.
It didn't take long for Rafa to win the match, 6-4, 6-0.
Here's an interview afterwards.
In the next round he played Peter Gojowczyk who had taken a set off him in Doha when they played each other for the first time earlier this year. Although he didn't manage to repeat that feat, it was still a fairly tough match with 18 deuce points in the second set. In the end, Rafa won, 6-3, 6-4.
Unfortunately it all went wrong in his next match, against Martin Klizan. Rafa battled to take the first set in the tiebreak but eventually lost, 7-6(7) 4-6 3-6. Here's the post match interview transcript.
So it was on to Shanghai for 8th ATP Masters of the season. As usual he had a bye in the first round and was to face Feliciano Lopez in his first match. There were some disturbing reports of a mysterious "stomach ailment" which turned out to be appendicitis. After aggressive treatment with antibiotics, Rafa chose to go ahead with the match but, unsurprisingly, lost, 3-6 6-7(6). Here's the post-match press conference.
He went straight back home to continue treatment. At time of writing he has yet to decide if and when to have his appendix removed.
Get well soon, Rafa