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Nadal Makes Triumphant Return In Vina del Mar Doubles

Doubles 2013

Nadal© JIm Rydell/VTR Open

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal made his long-awaited return to the ATP World Tour on Tuesday evening in Vina del Mar as he and Juan Monaco recorded a 6-3, 6-2 victory over second seeds Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy in the first round of the VTR Open.

Nadal has been sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury, not playing since a shock second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon. But the Spaniard returned triumphant with Argentina’s Monaco, saving all six break points they faced and converting four of seven opportunities on their opponents’ serve.

"It was a great feeling to play again and I'm very happy for doing it with a friend like Monaco in a great atmosphere that we had on the court," Nadal said. "In doubles the effort is always less [taxing]; we will see how it goes in singles and how my physical condition is. I chose this tournament because it is the perfect time and surface."

The 26-year-old Nadal will make his singles return on Wednesday at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, when he faces Argentine Federico Delbonis

Marcos Baghdatis and Mikhail Youzhny made a strong start to their title defence at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, ousting top seeds and three-time Wimbledon runners-up Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 6-2, 6-1.

The Cypriot/Russian pair, who won the Zagreb title on their team debut last year, converted four of their eight break point chances to claim victory in 52 minutes. The pair they beat in last year’s final, Croatians Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, also advanced, beating Dutch duo Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-2, 6-3.

At the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, Marc Gicquel and Michael Llodra won an all-French opener, 7-6(2), 7-6(3), against wild cards Kenny De Schepper and Fabrice Martin to set a quarter-final clash with second seeds Eric Butorac and Paul Hanley.

Johan Brunstrom and Raven Klaasen also reached the quarter-finals, beating French tandem Benoit Paire and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-3 in 57 minutes.

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© Hiroshi Sato

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