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Rafael Nadal makes winning return in first round at Barcelona Open | Rafael Nadal



Rafael Nadal makes winning return in first round at Barcelona Open | Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal made a profitable return to the courtroom with victory over Flavio Cobolli within the first spherical of the Barcelona Open.

The 37-year-old was taking part in his second event in 15 months after struggling one other harm downside in his hip at his comeback occasion in Brisbane in January.

Nadal dedicated to taking part in on the event he has received 12 instances on Monday however there was not a lot rust on show as he eased to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the 21-year-old Italian Cobolli in his first match on clay since he received his 14th French Open title in 2022.

Nadal obtained a hero’s welcome as he strode out onto the courtroom that bears his identify and, though there have been a couple of unfastened forehands within the early phases, the previous world No 1 was too stable for Cobolli.

Cobolli understandably appeared nervous and contributed to the scoreline with far too many errors, however a giant think about that was the strain being exerted from the opposite finish of the courtroom. A blip got here when Nadal, who is ready to retire sooner or later this season, performed a poor sport to drop serve for the primary time within the third sport of the second set however he had already damaged Cobolli and shortly restored his benefit.

There have been some classic forehands from Nadal within the remaining phases and he clinched victory when Cobolli netted a remaining backhand, thrusting his fist into the air.

“I loved some unforgettable moments right here so now I’m simply having enjoyable and completely satisfied to start out with a victory surely,” Nadal mentioned courtside. “I attempted [to come back] numerous instances in my profession, each time it’s tougher and particularly if you end up at a complicated age it’s even more durable.

“I’m going by way of some robust moments however on the identical time when I’m able to be on the tour for a couple of days capable of play and observe with the fellows and compete a bit bit means lots to me. It’s nonetheless pleasant sufficient to maintain doing it.”

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The house favorite faces an actual check subsequent, although, when he takes on in-form fourth seed Alex de Minaur.

In the meantime, second seed Andrey Rublev destroyed his racket on the finish of a 6-4 7-6 (6) defeat by Brandon Nakashima that continued his poor run of type.

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