SAO PAULO (AP) ― The last time Rafael Nadal won in Brazil, it was at the very start of the most dominant clay-court career tennis has ever seen.
Eight years later, Nadal hopes his second title here will mark the restart.
Nadal beat David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Brazil Open on Sunday, his first trophy since returning from a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee.
While this indoor clay-court tournament is much more low-priofile than those he has grown used to winning, Nadal thrust his arms into the air and pumped his fist after Nalbandian sent a shot long to give the Spaniard his 51st singles title.
His second also came in this event in 2005, when he was still relatively unknown, and he went on to win the first of his seven French Open titles months later.
“Brazil will always be in my heart,” Nadal said. “Big things started to happen after I won here in 2005 and hopefully this is the start of something good again.”
Nadal needed the lengthy layoff to treat a partially torn and inflamed tendon in his knee, and his comeback was then further postponed by an illness. He returned to play in Chile last week, losing in the final of both the singles and doubles tournaments.
|Victoria Azarenka kisses the winner’s trophy on Sunday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
DOHA (AP) ― Defending champion Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Sunday, earning her 16th title and ending a 10-match losing streak against the American.
Azarenka will give up the No. 1 ranking to the second-ranked Williams on Monday but extended her current winning streak to 14 matches, which included her second Australian Open title. More importantly, she may have turned around what has been a one-sided rivalry against Williams. Azarenka had not beaten Williams since 2009 in Miami, and had a 1-11 record against the American going into Sunday’s final.
“It feels incredible,” Azarenka said. “You know, this tournament is really great. ... It had such a strong field going into it, and I’m really glad that in the end of the week I’m the one who’s holding the trophy.”ABN AMRO
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) ― Juan Martin del Potro beat Julien Benneteau 7-6 (2), 6-3 on Sunday to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.
Benneteau managed what no other player at the tournament achieved ― breaking del Potro’s serve twice in the first set ― but struggled to hold his own serve against the big-hitting Argentine and crumbled in the second set.
The 2009 U.S. Open winner was the runner-up in Rotterdam last year. Benneteau, who beat No. 2-ranked Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, is winless in eight ATP finals.
“We are getting closer and closer. I am sure with you I can win a title,” Benneteau said.