• ATP Tour

Nadal takes first title after injury return

ESPN staff
February 17, 2013

Rafael Nadal won his first tournament since returning from a serious knee injury at the Brasil Open with a straight sets victory over David Nalbandian on Sunday.

The Spaniard saw off his doubles partner 6-2 6-3 in Sao Paulo to win this title for the second time, his first Brazilian triumph coming in 2005.

Nadal's knee is still a continual source of concern and he played through the pain in his semi-final against Martin Alund.

But he will be encouraged by how he recovered from 3-0 down in the second set to win six games in a row against his doubles partner.

Rewind one week and the 11-time grand slam champion was coming to terms with a rare loss on clay, to world No. 73 Horacio Zeballos in the final of the VTR Open in Chile.

Former Wimbledon finalist Nalbandian was competing in his first tournament since he was disqualified for kicking a line judge at Queen's Club in June. Earlier in the week Nadal had pulled out of playing doubles with the Argentine in order to preserve his knee for the singles draw.

Juan Martin del Potro made the most of Roger Federer's absence in Rotterdam to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament by beating Julien Benneteau 7-6(2) 6-3.

Second seed Del Potro lost to Federer in the final last year and had Benneteau to thank for avoiding him in this year's tournament after the Frenchman beat the World No. 2 in straight sets at the quarter-final stage.

Benneteau, 31, was seeking a maiden ATP World Tour crown in his eighth final but the big Argentine was in no mood to be generous and took his title hoard to 14.

Despite breaking Del Potro twice in the first set Benneteau was still dragged into a tie-break in which he was comfortably beaten 7-2. Del Potro then got an early break in the second set to take a 3-0 lead but his opponent proved a tough man to finish off and saved four match points on his own serve.

But his recovery stopped there as Del Potro shook off a nosebleed to take the set and the title.

At the SAP Open in San Jose, World No. 13 Milos Raonic beat Tommy Haas 6-4 6-3 to lift the title. It was a notable effort from the Canadian who has now won the event for three years in a row.

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