• VTR Open

Nadal elated to reach final on comeback

ESPN staff
February 10, 2013
Rafael Nadal celebrates reaching the final © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal admitted it was a "great feeling" to reach the final of the VTR Open on his return to competitive tennis, after he breezed past Jeremy Chardy on Saturday evening.

Nadal will face world No. 73 Horacio Zeballos in the final, after the Spaniard defeated third seed Chardy 6-2 6-2 in Chile.

Zeballos also won in straight sets, outmuscling eighth seed Carlos Berlocq 6-3 7-6(4).

The focus has been on Nadal this week, however, and the current world No. 5 continued his encouraging showing after seven months out through injury. The 26-year-old eased to the first set in just over 30 minutes, before breaking in just the third game of the second set to put him on course for victory.

Three break point saves in the sixth game of the stanza saw about the only moment of panic for Nadal, who overcame that brief wobble to see out the contest.

"I played well today, better than the days before, which is important," Nadal said. "I won't compare myself to seven months ago - it's just the first week of competition.

"It's a great feeling to be in a final match after so much time without playing."

Zeballos now awaits for Nadal, after the Argentine beat his third seed of the tournament to reach the showpiece match. The pair have only played once before, at the 2010 French Open, with Nadal winning with ease on that occasion.

Nadal noted: "It will be a tough match against Horacio, who is playing great tennis.

"I hope to keep enjoying myself like I've been doing during this tournament and that my physical condition remains good."

Nadal is also due to play in the doubles final alongside Juan Monaco on Sunday. The 11-time grand slam champion is not complaining about the workload being put on his knee.

"Every day that the knee answers well is a lot of positive energy for me, and that's helping me a lot," he said. "The feeling day by day is better - the feeling on court.

"I am very happy what I am doing this whole week. So I cannot ask for any more."

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