Nadal makes Tour singles comeback with victory over Berankis in Melbourne

Tennis – ATP 250 – Melbourne Summer Set – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 5, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal during a REUTERS / Loren Elliott training session

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MELBOURNE, Jan.6 (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal stepped up his preparations for this month’s Australian Open on Thursday with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis in the second round of the Melbourne Summer Set tournament ATP 250.

Playing his first competitive singles match on the ATP Tour since August 5, the 20-time Grand Slam champion showed no signs of rust from the start at Rod Laver Arena as he took a 3-4 lead. 1 in the first set with a blister. right hit.

The world number six, who ended his 2021 season prematurely with a left foot injury, moved with ease on the pitch as he completed the opening set in 31 minutes.

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However, it wasn’t so smooth in the second set, with the players trading early breaks.

Nadal took the lead 5-2, but Berankis resumed his way into the game to tie it at 5-5 before the Spaniard shifted again to secure the victory.

“I’m super happy to be back in competition and it’s hard to imagine a better place than Australia to come back to,” said Nadal.

“It’s only my first game after a while and I’ve been through some tough times over the past year and a half. But overall I’m happy and it’s important to start with a win.”

Nadal, who withdrew from Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open in 2021, only returned to action last month at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi where he played. lost to Andy Murray.

Nadal, 35, tested positive for COVID-19 last month, linked Jaume Munar to the doubles victory this week, but the duo withdrew from Thursday’s meeting with Andrey Golubev and Franko Skugor.

Next for Nadal in the singles quarterfinals is Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands or Alexei Popyrin of Australia.

In the Melbourne Summer Set 1 women’s tournament, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep entered the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-1 victory over fellow Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse while Andrea Petkovic and Ana Konjuh won. also advanced.

Japanese seed Naomi Osaka beat Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska 6-1 6-1 in just her second game on the WTA Tour in four months.

The world number 13 won 90% of her first serve points and didn’t face a breakpoint in a dominant display to set up a quarter-final clash with Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Daria Kasatkina, third seed in Melbourne Summer Set 2, defeated American Madison Keys 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-3 before Amanda Anisimova did a small job against fifth seed Sorana Cirstea.

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bangalore; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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