Rusty Rafael manages to hold off Duckworth
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.”