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Nadal celebrates a point against Thiem. AFP
Rafael Nadal wins on long-awaited return from injury
Tennis

Rafael Nadal wins on long-awaited return from injury

The veteran Spaniard beat Dominic Thiem in the round of 32 at the Brisbane International

Enric Gardiner

Malaga

Tuesday, 2 January 2024, 21:16

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Rafa Nadal returned to action after a 350-day hiatus in style, displaying his trademark skills to see off Austrian Dominic Thiem in the round of 32 at the Brisbane International on Tuesday.

Despite doubts about his form after a year away, Nadal's aggressive play and powerful shots quickly dispelled concerns. His dominant performance, showcasing a formidable serve and trademark forehand, secured a convincing 7-5 6-1 victory.

Thiem, a shadow of his former self due to ongoing wrist issues, put up a fight in the first set but crumbled under Nadal's pressure, leading to a decisive victory for the 22-time Grand Slam winner.

Nadal's triumph not only represented his 1,069th career win, surpassing Ivan Lendl, but also instilled optimism for his future, particularly amidst concerns about his fitness at 38 - an age at which no one has clinched a Grand Slam in the Open Era.

Nadal faces Australian Jason Kubler, ranked 102, in the next round on Thursday.

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