(Photo Credit: Brasil Open)
Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal picked up his first title in over nine months after defeating 93rd-ranked David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 at the Brazil Open. It was the first time in eight years that the world No. 5 played in the South American country where he captured the title as an 18-year-old in 2005.
The first break of the match came at 3-2 when Nadal’s penetrating forehand and a mix of defensive shot-making allowed him to pounce on Nalbandian’s service game to go up 4-2. Nadal tested the Argentine’s perseverance in the eighth game of the match, and was able to come out on top to seal a 6-2 set.
Nalbandian edged Nadal in the early stages of the second set as he got off to a commanding 3-0 lead. The Spaniard’s shaky game made a turnaround as he recovered to take six straight games and the match. It was the first time that the pair had met on clay.
The victory gave Nadal his 37th clay court title. His last title on the red dirt came at Roland Garros in May.