Rusty Rafael man­ages to hold off Duck­worth

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

RAFAEL Nadal re­turned from his four-month in­jury lay­off yes­ter­day by hold­ing off Aus­tralian James Duck­worth in three sets.

But the No. 2 seed was made to fight for the win and even stum­bled early in the sec­ond set and then again late in the third, be­fore clinch­ing the vic­tory 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

It was a brave ef­fort from Duck­worth who ral­lied late to pinch a break just as the Spaniard pre­pared to serve out the match.

But 16 un­forced er­rors in the first set cost Duck­worth and his serve fal­tered at a cru­cial time mid­way through the sec­ond set as Nadal took con­trol at 4-3.

Af­ter an­kle surgery and a thigh prob­lem in Bris­bane last week, Nadal, 32, ad­mit­ted it would prob­a­bly take time to work back into top form.

“Not easy to come back af­ter a lot of months (out of) com­pe­ti­tion and es­pe­cially against a player play­ing su­per ag­gres­sive,” Nadal said.

“Ev­ery shot he (Duck­worth) went on the court with de­ter­mi­na­tion to not hit balls from the base­line, so it was dif­fi­cult to be on rhythm.

“Any­way, I’m very happy to be through, be­cause it’s dif­fi­cult to start back af­ter in­juries.”

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