Following an upset loss in Chile last weekend , Rafael Nadal is finally back in title-winning form after a seven-month injury-related hiatus…
The 26-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated Argentina’s David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday in the finals of the Brazil Open to earn his first title since returning to competitive tennis this month.
Nadal, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, rolled over Nalbandian, who is also mounting a comeback after a months-long absence from the ATP Tour, in the first set.
The win capped “a very beautiful week,” said Nadal, adding that he wanted to everyone who supported him during “these complicated times.”
Nalbandian played Nadal to 3-3 in the second set, but Nadal then stepped up his game and took total control of the match.
The crowd at Sao Paulo’s Ibirapuera arena went wild when Nadal won match point and threw his arms in the air.
Nadal, coming off a seven-month hiatus from the ATP Tour due to injury and illness, hadn’t been victorious at a tournament since last June, when he won his record seventh French Open title.
Nadal went off the ATP Tour due to a knee injury after suffering a shocking second-round loss at last year’s Wimbledon at the hands of unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol, in what’s considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the prestigious tournament.
He’d planned to return to action in late December in Abu Dhabi, but a stomach virus forced him to withdraw from that exhibition tournament and he also pulled out of the recently concluded Australian Open.
The Brazil Open is the second of three Latin American clay-court events Nadal signed up to play in February.
The Spanish star was upset in the final of Viña del Mar – his first tournament back – by Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos. He’s next scheduled to compete in the Mexican Open later this month.