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Nadal recovers to win in Rio

Rafael Nadal beat Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the Rio Open final on his return from injury.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2014 08:23
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Rafael Nadal has not lost on clay since his defeat by Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo 10 months ago [AFP]

Rafael Nadal returned from a troublesome back injury to win the Rio Open, defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.

The world number one's victory comes four weeks after he lost the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka having tweaked his back while warming up.

The Spaniard, who survived two match points in the semi-final against Pablo Andujar, never looked under threat.
It was Nadal's 43rd clay title and stretches his record on the surface to 298-21, the best of the Open era.

"Clearly, it was important for me to get back and win after what happened in the final in Australia" Nadal said.

Dolgopolov hit several exquisite winners, especially from the backhand wing, but struggled to find a consistent enough game to trouble Nadal, who made only a handful of unforced errors in the whole match.

The world number 57, who upset David Ferrer in the semi-final, rallied in the second set to break Nadal's serve for the only time when the 13-time Grand Slam winner was serving for the match.

But Nadal, 27, took the title with a dominant tie-break.

The 2013 French Open champion has not lost on clay since his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters 10 months ago.

Nara wins women's

In the women's final at the combined ATP-WTA event, Kurumi Nara of Japan defeated top-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to win her first WTA singles title.

Nara, the 22-year-old Japanese, was seeded fifth in the tournament and is Japan's top-ranked woman. She prefers to play on hard courts but adapted to the heat and clay in Rio.

"I love Rio," Nara said, cracking a huge smile. "I can't believe I won the tournament, but I am very happy."

The victory is projected to push Nara into the top 50 — probably No. 48 — when the WTA publishes its rankings on Monday.

In the women's final at the combined ATP-WTA event, Kurumi Nara of Japan defeated top-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to win her first WTA singles title.

Nara, the 22-year-old Japanese, was seeded fifth in the tournament and is Japan's top-ranked woman. She prefers to play on hard courts but adapted to the heat and clay in Rio.

"I love Rio," Nara said, cracking a huge smile. "I can't believe I won the tournament, but I am very happy."

The victory is projected to push Nara into the top 50 — probably No. 48 — when the WTA publishes its rankings

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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