ATP Brazil Open: Rafa Nadal claims first title since returning from injury
Last Updated: 18/02/13 10:55am
Rafa Nadal: Won his first title since winning the French Open for the seventh time last June
Former world No 1 Rafa Nadal overcame Argentine veteran David Nalbandian 6-2 6-3 to win the ATP Brazil Open title in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
The Spaniard clinched his first tournament title since ending a seven-month knee injury lay-off with tendon trouble in his left knee.
"In 2005 big things started to happen for me after winning here and I hope this time again it is the start of something good."
He competed in the Vina del Mar Open in Chile, losing the singles and doubles finals last weekend, but made up for it with a solid performance against his 93rd-ranked opponent.
Nadal struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning but was still able to break Nalbandian's serve twice to take the first set.
He then rallied from 3-0 down in the second to win six straight games and close out the match in just 78 minutes of action at the Ibirapuera arena.
Nadal thrust his arms into the air and pumped his fist after a long ball by the 31-year-old made him the champion of the indoor clay court tournament for the second time. The Spaniard also won the event in 2005. This was his 51st tournament victory on the ATP Tour.
"Brazil will always be in my heart, this is the second time I have been here," Nadal told the crowd after his victory.
"In 2005 big things started to happen for me after winning here and I hope this time again it is the start of something good.
"I'll definitely enjoy this one because of all the problems that I've gone through with the knee. When the knee is feeling better like today I feel like that I can do more of the things that I used to do my entire life.
"If the pain is bearable like it was today, then it's fine."
The 11-times grand slam champion is now expected to play another clay court tournament in Acapulco this month, as he gears up to defend his French Open title in May.