The 23-year old beat the Cypriot 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to advance to the second round in Beijing.
Speaking to the press after his victory, Nadal was quick to pay tribute to his fans in China.
“The fans show their emotions here,” said Nadal.
“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always good for every sport and for me, especially here back in Beijing.
“I know some people are waiting for me at the hotel. I just wanted to say thank you very much to all the people here in China because they make me feel very well.
“It is my third time here in Beijing, and every time is very good.”
The Spaniard also had praise for his opponent who has dropped down the ATP rankings of late due to injury, currently ranked at 103 in the world.
“He is a very, very good player. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very dangerous. I am happy to see him back here, to see Marcos here because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a nice person and a very important person for our sport. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very happy for him to see him back here.”
Nadal will play James Blake in the second round.
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BIOGRAPHY: Eric Bailly