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A WINNING RETURN | Rafael Nadal makes winning return in Barcelona

IANS | Updated on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 11:10 AM IST
Rafael Nadal makes winning return in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal made a winning return at the Barcelona Open, where the 12-time champion defeated Italian Flavio Cobolli 6-2, 6-3.

Nadal is playing just his second tournament of the year and first since January, when he made the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 in Brisbane.

"Every time it is more difficult and especially when you are at an advanced age, it makes things even tougher," Nadal said of his return as quoted by ATP tour.

"I’m going through tough moments but at the same time, when I’m able to be on Tour for a few days and practise with the guys and then be able to compete a little bit, it means a lot to me. Still enjoyable enough to keep going. I'm happy to start with a victory without a doubt," he added.

The 37-year-old was playing his first clay-court match since winning his 14th Roland Garros trophy in 2022. Tuesday’s victory marked his 475th win on the surface, ATP reports.

The 92-time tour-level titlist will next meet fourth seed Alex de Minaur, whom Nadal leads 3-1 in their ATP head-to-head series.

Nadal boasts a 67-4 match record at the ATP 500, where he first won the title in 2005 and most recently triumphed in 2021.