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Rafa Nadal allays injury fears to ease past James Duckworth

14 January 2019

After losing two service games in the match, Nadal was pleased with it.

"It was good. It is normal that beginnings are tough, but every day helps and every day makes me feel better, makes me feel more confident", said Nadal, who limped out of both the Australian and US Opens past year.

The Spanish 17-time Grand Slam champion is returning after surgery on a troublesome foot injury, but insists he is recovered and raring to go. "And that's what I need today". He went on court probably doing a thing that works well for him, and he gives himself some chances.

It brought a huge ovation from the home supporters and another roar as the world number 238 held for 5-5.

"Hitting with Rod Laver for me clearly is an absolute dream come true", Federer said back in 2014.

The 22-year-old Dart, playing in the main draw of a major for only the second time after getting a wildcard to play last year at Wimbledon, only got a look at one break point in the match - when Sharapova served a double-fault in the second set. Not at all. Believe me.

Nadal was in high spirits as he put his long-term injury worries behind him with a convincing straight-sets victory over James Duckworth in Melbourne.

"When you play against a player that he wants to hit all the shots, of course you can have breaks against, because you are sometimes in his hands", said Nadal.

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"My serve worked well".

"I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say ... when you're playing the first round of a Grand Slam", she said.

"It's normal that beginnings are tough, but every day helps and every day makes me feel better, makes me feel more confident", Nadal, whose 2018 season ended early with ankle surgery and an abdominal injury, told reporters.

The Spaniard, who will next meet the victor of Australian Matthew Ebden's contest with Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, broke Duckworth six times while surrendering his serve twice and brought an end to the match with a brilliant crosscourt victor.

The 2009 victor had pulled out of the Brisbane International warm-up with a thigh strain but showed no signs of the problem in his opener, hammering his opponent to set up a meeting with Matthew Ebden or Jan-Lennard Struff next. "It was sad not to play in Brisbane".

"You were closing your eyes to be more focused on what I am saying", Nadal said to the dozy reporter. "It's always different pains appearing in the first weeks back after a while".

"I'm playing good tennis. I had a good week of practice before this tournament".

Rafa Nadal allays injury fears to ease past James Duckworth