Rafael Nadal returns with a win as Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie make history in Madrid

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Rafael Nadal made a winning return to the ATP Tour as he beat a spirited Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 7-6 in Madrid. Nadal started the season in scintillating form, winning the Melbourne Summer Set, the Australian Open and Acapulco before sustaining a rib injury in the semi-finals of Indian Wells. That injury kept him out for around six weeks and delayed the start of his clay season, traditionally the strongest part of the Spaniard's year. However, he showed few signs of rust as he dismissed Serbian Kecmanovic despite a rain delay in Madrid. Nadal is joined in the last 16 by Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie who created British tennis history on Wednesday. With Andy Murray already in the last 16, Evans and Norrie made it three Brits in a clay Masters 1000 event for the first time in history. Evans had to really fight for his spot, though, as he came back from the brink to beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 5-7, 7-6. His reward is a clash with world number eight Andrey Rublev. Norrie, meanwhile, will face rising superstar Carlos Alcaraz following his 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 win over big-serving American John Isner.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev has also advanced, coming from a set down to beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. "I thought I played very well," Zverev said. "I just lost focus in the first set. "But I am happy with the win and I am happy to be though. Marin is a difficult opponent, especially with the altitude here, so I am happy with this match. "It helps to be on this court again. It is always great to have those memories in the back of your mind. "But I have to have this year on my mind and I have to focus on playing well and hopefully I can do that this week."

The article Rafael Nadal returns with a win as Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie make history in Madrid appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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