Nadal in final of comeback event
Rafael Nadal looked sharp yesterday as he booked a finals berth in an ATP South American clay court tournament, his first event back from a seven-month injury absence
Nadal, seeded No 1 as a wildcard in the $410,200 tournament, needed just 64 minutes to defeat third-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2.
Former World No 1 Nadal, currently ranked fifth in the world, raced to a 4-0 lead before Chardy was finally able to hold serve.
Nadal closed out the opening set after little more than half an hour, pulling Chardy wide with a deep ball to the corner then blasting an overhead winner into the open court to end the rally on set point. He broke Chardy at love in the third game of the second set to gain the upper hand, then saved three break points in the sixth game to maintain his advantage.
He broke Chardy for a 5-2 lead and took the contest with an ace on his second match point to book a title clash with Argentinian Horatio Zeballos.
Zeballos, ranked 73rd in the world, reached only the second ATP final of his career with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over eighth-seeded compatriot Carlos Berlocq.