sport

Nadal wins on singles return

Rafael Nadal overcame a poor start to beat Federico Delbonis in his first singles match in eight months in the VTR Open second round in Chile.

Nadal made his return to competitive tennis on Tuesday alongside Monaco in the doubles, but Wednesday marked his first singles match since a shock second round defeat against Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon eight months ago.

The former world number one, who has been blighted by a knee injury and illness since then, lost the first two games but bounced back to triumph 6-3 6-2 after 87 minutes in Vina del Mar.

Nadal was given a first round bye but he lost the first two games against his Argentine opponent.

The Spaniard stormed back, however, and shook off any fears of rust by taking 10 of the next 11 games before sealing his passage into the next round after 87 minutes.

There looked to be no signs the 11-time major winner was struggling with the injury that ruled him out for most of the last half of 2012.

Nadal was forced to abort his return from a knee problem in December after being struck down by a stomach virus - an illness which ruled him out of last month's Australian Open.

He is guaranteed to play a fellow Spaniard in the quarter-final, with Albert Montanes and seventh seed Daniel Gimeno-Traver playing Thursday for the right to face the top seed.

Second seed Juan Monaco could not join the 11-time major winner in the quarter-final after suffering a 7-6(7/3) 6-4 defeat against world number 93 Guillaume Rufin.

The defending champion was constantly bothered on serve and Rufin managed to seize two of 10 break point opportunities to seal a surprise win in one hour and 32 minutes.

The Frenchman will next play another Argentinian, with eighth seed and last year's runner-up Carlos Berlocq edging out Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 7-5 4-6 6-4.

In first round action, Albert Ramos breezed past Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-4 6-1, Daniel Gimeno-Traver beat Joao Sousa 6-4 4-6 6-1, while Paolo Lorenzi was a 6-1 6-4 winner over fellow Italian Gianluca Naso.