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Ruthless Rafa: Nadal scores impressive second-round win

4 January 2024, by Leigh Rogers

Rafael Nadal arrived in Brisbane this week with measured expectations, unsure exactly how his competitive return would play out.

Contesting his first professional tournament in almost 12 months, such trepidation was understandable.

Expectations are certainly rising now though, after Nadal produced a sublime performance to beat Australian wildcard Jason Kubler 6-1 6-2 in second-round action at Pat Rafter Arena this evening.

Nadal won 14 of the first 15 points in the match, with a double fault the only imperfection in a dazzling start.

“I think I started the match playing very well, with very good determination,” said the former world No.1.

“I saw videos of Jason before the match and I saw he played very solid from the baseline, so I came on court trying to be aggressive with my shots from the baseline and it worked very well.”

Nadal finished the 84-minute encounter with 20 winners, 12 more than his world No.102-ranked opponent.

> VIEW: Brisbane International 2024 men’s singles draw

This effort sees Nadal progress to his first quarterfinal at an ATP Tour hard-court tournament in almost two years (since March 2022).

“I think it has been a very positive match for me and I have the chance to play again tomorrow, which means a lot to me,” Nadal said.

The 37-year-old Spaniard will face another Australian, Jordan Thompson, for a place in the semifinals.

That match will be played at Pat Rafter Arena tomorrow evening.

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