Posted February 09, 2013 on AP on Fox
Rafael Nadal has reached both finals of the VTR Open in Chile, a perfect return to tournament tennis for the Spaniard after a seven-month layoff with a left-knee injury and a stomach virus. Nadal defeated Jeremy Chardy of France in Saturday's singles semifinal 6-2, 6-2. Nadal and Juan Monaco won their doubles semifinal on Friday, meaning Nadal is scheduled to play twice on Sunday. Nadal will face Argentine Horacio Zeballos in the singles final, and Nadal and Monaco play Italy's Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace in doubles. The former No. 1 has played six matches in five days and has not dropped a set. Nadal had few problems against Chardy, though he did double fault three times in one game in the first set. Nadal says he's still feeling pain in his left knee, but stresses his focus is not on the injury but the need to get sharper and quicker in the lead-up to the French Open. He's said it may be a few months before he knows if the non-surgical therapy will allow him to regain his old form. Nadal vs. Zeballos looks like a mismatch. Some have compared the field in this event to Nadal's usual walk through the first week of the French Open. Zeballos has never won a tour singles title. Nadal has won 50, including 11 Grand Slams -- seven at the French Open. He has also won eight doubles titles. The 26-year-old Spaniard plays another clay-court event next week in Sao Paulo, and plays later in the month in Acapulco, Mexico -- all aimed at getting ready for France. Earlier this week he was he was ''light years'' away from being ready for Roland Garros. Nadal has repeatedly said that results are secondary on the swing through Latin America. But failing to win in Chile would be a red flag. Nadal has won 93 percent of his singles matches on clay, the highest percentage in the Open Era. Saturday's victory left him undefeated in 15 straight singles matches on clay. The Spaniard looks slimmer, and he's shown no signs of favoring the left knee. Several times in the tournament he's raced recklessly to chasing down shots, a strong part of his game that wins him points. Nadal has slipped to No. 5 in the ranking, but he will fall further in the coming weeks because he missed so many events and not accumulated ranking points. ''The ranking reflects your level for a whole year, and I was out seven months. If I can recover the level I had before I was hurt last year in June, by December I'll be back up there -- if the physical side, the knee responds.'' Nadal's spokesman Benito Perez-Barbadillo announced Saturday that Nadal and his manager Carlos Costa have set up their own events and sports management company. Both had been with the management agency IMG.

Nadal says he wants drug cheats caught

Rafael Nadal says he wants drug cheats caught so all sports can improve their image. Nadal was asked about drug testing on Friday at the VTR Open in Chile. He said he was in favor of the results of drug tests being made public as long as the athletes involved were respected. Nadal said earlier this week that he had passed six blood and urine tests since losing on June 28 at Wimbledon...

Nadal loses to Zeballos in Chile final

Rafael Nadal lost the singles and doubles finals at the VTR Open on Sunday in a disappointing finish to his comeback tournament after being sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury. Nadal was beaten by Argentina's Horacio Zeballos in three sets in the singles final. Then Nadal and partner Juan Monaco lost 6-2, 6-4 in the doubles championship against the Italian pair...

Zeballos Stuns Nadal to Win Chile Title

  Rafael Nadal   (February 10, 2013) Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos stopped Rafael Nadal from winning the first tournament of the Spaniard’s comeback on Sunday at Vina Del Mar. Zeballos, ranked 73 in the world stopped the eleven-time major champion and winner of a career 36 clay court tournaments 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-4 to win his first ATP World Tour tournament. The win also marks...

Nadal wants drug cheats caught

Rafael Nadal says testing for performance-enhancing drugs in sport should strike a balance between catching the cheats and respecting the athletes. ''Not everyone has to pay for some sinners,'' Nadal said Friday at the VTR Open in Chile. Nadal said earlier this week that he had passed six blood and urine tests since losing June 28 at Wimbledon. He took seven months...

Nadal drops rare final on clay as Zeballos wins

Rafael Nadal lost to Horacio Zeballos in three sets in the VTR Open final on Sunday, settling for a runner-up finish in his first tournament after being sidelined for seventh months with a left knee injury.

Nadal is back, but the old game isn't the same

After seven months away treating a torn and inflamed tendon in his left knee, Rafael Nadal left many questions unanswered in his comeback tournament. Nadal lost both the singles and doubles finals in the space of a few hours on Sunday at the VTR Open in Chile. And Horacio Zeballos, whose three-set victory over Nadal in singles brought him the first title of his career, repeated...

Nadal Gains Singles Semifinals and Doubles Final in Chile

(February 8, 2013) Rafael Nadal has moved into singles semifinals and the doubles final on Friday in Vina del Mar, Chile.  Nadal took out fellow Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-1, 6-4 and paied up with Juan Monaco to win his doubles match 6-3, 6-3 over the Argentine pair of Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer. Nadal feels that he’s making progress with the left knee. Which kept him off the...

Nadal Advances to Chile Final

    (February 9, 2013) Rafael Nadal dismissed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2 in 63 minutes to move into the Vina del Mar final in his 2013 debut after a 7 month layoff due to a knee injury. The Spaniard will also play the doubles final on Sunday. The Spaniard will be going for his 37th clay court title when he plays Horacio Zeballos. Nadal will be going for a Chile doubles on...

Rafael Nadal Happy and in Charge — The Friday Five

By Maud Watson Happy Returns Rafael Nadal’s comeback officially commenced earlier this week in Chile, and it’s already been a success with the Spaniard winning both his opening doubles and single matches by identical score lines of 6-3 and 6-2. There were a few anxious moments at the start of his singles match. Nadal had to shake off rust and nerves to bounce back after falling...

Alves Fails to Qualify, Questions About Court Conditions at Brasil Open

By Barbara Galiza   (February 10, 2013) Even with an impressionable run in the Davis Cup play-off against America last week, Brazilian Thiago Alves still failed to quality for his home tournament. The 135th player in the world fell in the second round of qualifying and his reaction hinted the indoor clay at São Paulo was to blame. After his loss, the Brazilian smacked his racket...
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