Tennis

Nadal kicks off 2017 with a win

Rafael Nadal beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the Brisbane International yesterday to make a successful return to action following two-and-a-half months out due to injury.

The Spanish former world No. 1, seeded fifth, made a sluggish start and fell 3-1 in the first set against his Ukrainian opponent.

But Nadal, 30, won four successive games to clinch the opening set and the 14-time Grand Slam winner broke twice in the second to see off 2012 Brisbane finalist Dolgopolov in one hour and 15 minutes.

He will next play Germany's Mischa Zverev.

SAVED MATCH-POINT

In the women's draw, Spanish fourth seed Garbine Muguruza saved a match-point before seeing off Russia's Daria Kasatkina in the second round yesterday.

The 23-year-old Spaniard secured a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) win over 19-year-old Kasatkina, who served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, only to be broken by Muguruza. Muguruza then kept her nerve in the tie-break, holding on to win in just under three hours.

She will face Destanee Aiava or twice-Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals. - WIRE SERVICES

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