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Nadal Returns Victorious With Delbonis Win; Rufin Ousts Monaco

Vina del Mar, Chile

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal made a successful return to action on his Vina del Mar debut.

You wouldn’t think he’d been out for seven months. Rafael Nadal returned to singles action for the first time since Wimbledon on Wednesday at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar as he dismissed Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. 

The Spaniard, dressed in a purple shirt and grey shorts just above the knee, dropped the first two games against Delbonis, a 6’3’’ left-hander. But any fears that Nadal might be in for a shock exit were swiftly put to bed as the Mallorcan reeled off 10 of the next 11 games to claim the first set and assume a commanding 4-0 lead in the second set. He went on to claim victory in 87 minutes.

“I'm happy to play a singles match after so long,” Nadal said. “I need days and time to get my game back, but so far the feeling on court is great.
“For now the most important thing is to spend as much time as possible on court. This victory allows me to play at least two more matches, singles and doubles. To practise is one thing but to play is totally different. In a real match you can't control your body as you do in practice.”

Video courtesy Vive Deportes and VTR

The 26-year-old Nadal is making his debut at this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament as he returns from the left-knee injury that sidelined him since a second-round exit to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon. It is the first time in eight years that he has played the Latin America “Golden Swing”.

World No. 93 Guillaume Rufin recorded just his second Top 20 win as he ousted the No. 15-ranked Juan Monaco 7-6(3), 6-4 in the second round. The Frenchman converted two of the 10 break points he created to beat the defending champion Monaco in one hour and 32 minutes.

The 22-year-old Rufin recorded the 11th tour-level victory of his career (11-16 record). His previous Top 20 win came against then-No. 15 Feliciano Lopez at the Open Sud de France last year. The 28-year-old Monaco, who had a bye in the first round, suffered his second opening-round loss of the season, having also fallen at the first hurdle at the Australian Open last month (l. to Kuznetsov).

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In his third ATP World Tour quarter-final, Rufin will face eighth seed Carlos Berlocq of Argentina, who battled past Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 31 minutes. The 30-year-old Berlocq was runner-up to Monaco in last year’s final.

A pair of seeded Spaniards advanced in first-round action. No. 5 Albert Ramos defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-4, 6-1, while No. 7 Daniel Gimeno-Traver overcame Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. 

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