Nadal teams up with Nalbandian to post 3-set doubles win in Brazil
AFPSAO PAULO -- Spain's Rafael Nadal teamed up with Argentina's David Nalbandian to post a three-set doubles victory in the Brazil Open on Tuesday.
February 14, 2013, 12:36 am TWN
The world number five, back on a court after his defeat in the Vina del Mar Open in Chile Sunday, and his partner won 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 in just 79 minutes over fellow Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round of the ATP clay court event.
The third set was hard fought with Nadal and Nalbandian saving two match points before prevailing 11-9. The Spanish star was mobbed by adoring fans as he left the court.
The match started two hours behind schedule and Nadal, wearing a white knee brace, was greeted with thunderous applause when he appeared on the court in the 9,300-seat Ibirapuera gymnasium.
The winning duo was to play in the second round Wednesday.
As the top seed, Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam champion enjoyed a first-round singles bye and will open his singles campaign Thursday.
He lost the singles and doubles finals Sunday at his comeback event in Vina del Mar, Chile following a seven-month knee injury absence.
“I am a bit tired after a hard week in Chile. But it was positive. The process of recovery follows its course. As always I come here to do the best possible and hope that things turn out all right,” Nadal told a news conference here earlier Tuesday.
Asked when he expected to be 100-percent fit, he responded: “I cannot know the future. If my knee allows, I will do everything possible to be at my best.
“I am a player who plays with a lot passion, a lot of energy. I suppose that does not help the knee.”
He said his worst moment during his seven-month absence was when he realized he could not compete for Spain and defend his title at the London Olympics.
“My long-term objective is to be in Brazil in 2016 (for the Rio Summer Olympics). I am going to work to arrive in good conditions at what are likely to be my last Olympics,” he said.
Considered by many to be the best ever clay-court player, Nadal was back in Chile last week for the first time since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon in June.