Back to winning ways! Nadal cruises past Nalbandian to seal first title since comeback
before he was sidelined by tendon trouble in his left knee after
an early exit from Wimbledon.
Victory: Rafael Nadal won his first title since his injury return in Sao Paulo
Nadal made his long-awaited comeback at last week's clay-court event in Vina Del Mar but surprisingly missed out on the title after losing in three sets to Argentinian Horacio Zeballos the final.
The Spaniard struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning but was still able to break Nalbandian's serve twice to take the first set, then rallied from 3-0 down in the second to win six straight games to close out the match.
Nalbandian was playing in a final for the first time since he was disqualified for kicking an advertisement board and injuring a line judge at Queen's Club last June. The former world No 3 hasn't won a title since 2010 in Washington.
Too good: Nadal cruised past David Nalbandian in the Brazil Open final
Nadal, who was coming off two three-set matches, still looked far from his best and didn't seem to be moving well. The knee appeared to be bothering him again and he left many balls unchallenged throughout the match.
But with the support from the local fans and with former Brazil star striker Ronaldo and mixed martial arts champion Anderson Silva in the crowd, Nadal took control of the match in the second set to secure the victory.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn't bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to give his knee a good test. The Spaniard will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico in two weeks.
Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent
Nadal had won four of his six career matches against Nalbandian, the last one a three-set victory in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells last year. Nalbandian's last victory over Nadal was in 2007 in the final of a Master Series tournament in Paris.
The 31-year-old Argentine made his season debut in singles at the Brazil Open. He was out of action for several months last season because of an abdominal injury.
Sao Paulo: Nadal signs autographs for the Brazilian fans
DEL POTRO WINS FIRST TITLE OF YEAR IN ROTTERDAM
Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro clinched his first title of the year as he overcame Julien Benneteau 7-6 6-3 in the final of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday.
Del Potro, beaten in last year's final by Roger Federer, lost his serve in the first set but Benneteau had no answer to his solid baseline performance which earned him the tiebreak 7-2.
After an early break in the second set Del Potro never looked back against 39th-ranked Benneteau, still seeking a first title having lost all eight finals he has contested.
'It was so important to win the tie-break as I missed several opportunities through mistakes I made to clinch the first set sooner,” Del Potro told reporters.
Del Potro became only the second Argentine after Guillermo Vilas to triumph at the tournament.
'I had a great week and really enjoyed the tennis I played from the first round on,” added Del Potro.
Benneteau said he had fought with all his might to match the hitting and power of world number seven Del Potro.
'It was tough to stay in the first set as I was under pressure every game, as well on my own serve as his,' said the Frenchman, who beat Federer in the last eight.