Four months later, Rafael Nadal He returned to the track and did so with a strong and smooth start, getting rid of the Australian James Duckworth (6-4, 6-3 and 7-5, in 2h 15m) and emitting good vibrations in the first round of the Australian Open. Behind is the absence, the umpteenth forced stop and the last part of low, headed by the right knee and followed by an intervention in the right ankle, small abdominal problems and a muscle strain that delayed his re-entry into the circuit. Nadal returned and, in reality, he gave the impression that everything is the same, waiting for him to lubricate the machinery more. The Manacor did not offer the slightest doubt or exhibited cracks, then the rerun was settled with a note.
With a look surfer, dressed in a color shirt and sleeveless, Nadal raffled with good note a game translated into a sort of duel of gunmen. The Spaniard responded well on his return from inactivity, after 129 days in the reserve as a result of a tendinopathy in the right joint, offering flashes, good legs and a very serious performance against an opponent who did not want entanglements. Duckworth, 26, proposed a straight-line match - in fact, the only field that could give him any chance - and in the end he ended up falling into his own trap and with neck pains, because the Mallorcan chilled him passings on both sides, of all colors.
Nadal had not played for three months, but some things never change. its drive he does not lose the edge and the reverse penetrates with fable, although he surely would have preferred another scenario. The Australian (238 ATP) did not give rhythm, and yes an amalgam of 81 rises (runaway) to the network; therefore, the number two could not just rally, but at least he removed the rust and dusted off his repertoire of punches, 38 of them winners. He also complied with the service, to be examined in this tournament because it presents news and at the moment the thing works well. Against Duckworth, he tried the mechanics between real fire and the statistic left positive figures: he retained 74% of points with first and 59% with seconds; signed 6 aces, had a 67% effectiveness and committed two double faults.
In general, Nadal - cited in the next phase with the winner of the match between Matthew Ebden and Jan-Lennard Struff - did not make concessions and only had to disrupt a bad moment. In the second set, Duckworth started with a break and had three options to extend to 3-0, but the replica was brutal: six consecutive games and an insurmountable border in between. It is the price of risk, all or nothing; of the pure and hard aggressiveness of aussie. The Spaniard activated the rocky version and the host multiplied the errors (40, by only 11 of his opponent) and accusing the rush, although at no time did he get to disengage from the game.
The kamikaze Duckworth stood up until the end, but there was Nadal, back and with firm step, another day in the office. He reduced it with mastery and craft, as if nothing had happened and time had not elapsed.
MALE PICTURE: Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 6-3 and 7-5 to James Duckworth; Fernando Verdasco, 7-6, 6-3 and 6-3 to Miomir Kecmanovic; Robin Haase, 7-5, 6-4 and 7-5 to Guillermo García-López; Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 and 6-1 to Adrian Mannarino; Grigor Dimitrov, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and 6-4 to Janko Tipsarevic.
FEMALE PICTURE: Kimberly Birrel, 6-4 and 6-2 to Paula Badosa; Maria Sharapova, double 6-0 to Harriet Dart; Katie Boulter, 6-0, 4-6 and 7-6 to Ekaterina Makarova; Caroline Garcia, 6-2 and 6-3 to Jessika Ponchet; Aryna Sabalenka, 6-1 and 6-4 to Anna Kalinskaya; Sloane Stephens, 6-4 and 6-2 to Taylor Townsend; Danielle Collins, 2-6, 7-6 and 6-4 to Julia Goerges.