Rafa Nadal continues recovery with 2nd round win in Madrid Open

<p>Rafael Nadal<em> (Anadolu file photo)</em></p>

Rafael Nadal (Anadolu file photo)

MADRID – Rafael Nadal continued with his recovery from injury and gained revenge for his second-round defeat in the Barcelona Open when he beat Alex de Minaur 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

De Minaur ended Nadal's hopes in Barcelona and the rematch allowed the 37-year-old Spanish former world number one to show that he is recovering his form and stamina.

In front of a highly partisan crowd, Nadal claimed a draining first set after a tense tie-break, but whereas in Barcelona, he faded badly in the second set due to a lack of fitness, in Madrid he was able to continue with his high-level and claim the second set 6-3.

"I have had some difficult months at a professional level, but I have always got up with the hope of enjoying another afternoon like this one," Nadal said after the match.

"It means a lot to be able to play a complete match, as I couldn't do that last week (in Barcelona) and I am happy that I will be able to play at least one more time on this court," added the player who had said this will be the last time he plays in Madrid.

Third seed Daniil Medvedev recovered from losing the opening set 6-2 to recover and beat Italy's Matteo Arnaldi 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In the women's third round, fifth seed Maria Sakkari beat Sloane Stephens of the USA 6-1, 6-3 in straight sets.

Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo was cheered on by a partisan crowd as she beat former winner Victoria Azarenka 7-6(7), 6-3, as Azarenka's game appeared to fall apart in the last three games.

Top seed Iga Swiatek breezed past 27th-seeded, Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-1, and ninth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko beat Argentina's Maria Carle 6-3, 6-3 to assure a place in the last-16.

Ons Jabeur also made it to the last-16 after a hard-fought 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over Leylah Fernandez in blustery conditions in Madrid. (Xinhua)