Tennis: Nadal triumphs in singles return

Rafael Nadal made a triumphant singles return after a seven-month absence, beating Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the ATP claycourt tournament here.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion from Spain hadn't played since a shock second-round exit from Wimbledon in June.

A torn tendon and inflammation in his left knee had kept him out of the London Olympics and the 2012 US Open, while a virus further delayed his return to action this year.

The rust was showing as Nadal, now ranked fifth in the world, dropped his serve in the first game of the match and quickly fell into an 0-2 hole.

But he soon rebounded against his 128th-ranked opponent, regaining the break in the fourth game before prevailing in a hard-fought eighth game to give himself a chance to serve for the opening set.

Former world number one Nadal, playing with the familiar band of tape around the bottom of his left knee, looked keen to get things underway as he danced on the balls of his feet during the coin toss.

He seemed to move with ease around the sun-splashed red clay court, even when racing to the net after drop shots.