Skip to content

Nadal wins in 1st competitive match in over 3 months


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal looked good in a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Flavio Cobolli at the Barcelona Open in his first competitive match in more than three months on Tuesday.

The victory at the center court named after him allowed Nadal to advance to the second round at the clay-court tournament that the Spaniard has won a record 12 times. He will next face Alex de Minaur, who had a first-round bye.

Nadal converted on his second match point to seal the victory over the 21-year-old Italian ranked 62nd in the world.

Nadal was returning from yet another injury layoff and hadn't played since an exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz in March. The 22-time Grand Slam champion had last played a tournament in Brisbane in January, when he played only three matches before skipping the Australian Open.

Nadal said it will likely be his last time playing the Barcelona Open. The 37-year-old Spaniard had hip surgery last summer and said 2024 will probably be his last year playing on tour.

Frustrated Rublev

World No. 8 Andrey Rublev smashed his racket to the ground several times after a 6-4, 7-6 (6) loss to American Brandon Nakashima.

It was the third consecutive first-round defeat for the second-seeded Rublev, who also lost in straight sets in Monte Carlo and Miami. He also lost in straight sets in the second round in Indian Wells.

It was only the second win over a top-10 opponent for the 22-year-old Nakashima, and the first on clay. The world No. 87 had beaten Holger Rune in Shanghai last October.

“I’m still out here competing as hard as I can,” said Nakashima, who reached No. 43 in the world in 2022. “I’m happy with getting my level back to where it was. Playing in front of these crowds and on this court was super special.”

Other results

Also Tuesday, Facundo Diaz Acosta defeated 15th-seeded Borna Coric 6-2, 7-5. Tomas Machac beat Shang Juncheng 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with 11th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Hugo Grenier 6-2, 6-4, while Jaume Munar cruised past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-1.


AP tennis:

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox