Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open by winning title at Melbourne Summer Set | Tennis News

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov lead Canada to victory in the ATP Cup final over Spain in Sydney; Gael Monfils defeats Karen Khachanov in Adelaide International final to claim her 11th title on tour

Last updated: 01/09/22 13:05


Rafael Nadal celebrates Melbourne Summer Set title victory

Rafael Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open to take the Melbourne Summer Set title with a two-set win over American qualifier Maxime Cressy.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, who played his first tournament since August 2021, triumphed 7-6 (6) 6-3 in Sunday’s final.

Nadal’s trip to Australia had been questioned due to a persistent foot injury and a recent coronavirus attack.

But, having already knocked out Lithuanian Ricadas Berankis and Finnish Emil Ruusuvuori this week, he showed small signs of rust and picked up the 89th trophy of his illustrious career with a win in one hour and 44 minutes.

Nadal was playing in his first tournament since August last year

Nadal was playing in his first tournament since August last year

“I’m coming back from some tough times and injuries, so it means a lot to be here,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion, before praising his opponent.

ATP Tour final rookie Cressy put his high-profile opponent working for the win, saving five break points in a close first set and was also denied a set point in the tie break.

With the start of the first grand slam of 2022 just eight days away, Nadal – the Australian Open champion in 2009 – was then forced to recover from the breakup in the third game of the second set to claim the silver medal.

Glory for number six in the world keeps her streak winning at least one tour-level title every year since 2004.

Canada beat Spain by winning the ATP Cup

Felix Auger-Aliassime (left) and Denis Shapovalov celebrate Canada's ATP Cup victory

Felix Auger-Aliassime (left) and Denis Shapovalov celebrate Canada’s ATP Cup victory

Canada won the ATP Cup with victory over Spain.

Felix Auger-Aliassime took the title in Sydney with a 7-6 (3) 6-3 win over Roberto Bautista Agut, giving his country an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Canada, who overtook Great Britain in the competition’s group stage and beat defending champions Russia in the semi-finals, led 1-0 thanks to Denis Shapovalov’s 6-4 6-3 win over Pablo Carreno Busta.

“The emotions are incredible. There is no better feeling than winning. We left everything out there,” said Auger-Aliassime.

Team Canada raises the ATP Cup trophy

Team Canada raises the ATP Cup trophy

“We have come a long way in this competition, losing the first four games. But we have never stopped believing in it.

“I think it’s very important. We trust each other at the highest level … the perfect result has come. I’m super thrilled for everyone in the whole team and for myself, of course.”

Spain’s beaten finalists were also second in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2020, when their team included 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal.

Monfils claims the title of Adelaide

In Adelaide International, French-seeded Gael Monfils defeated second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-4 for her 11th title on tour.

Former world number six Monfils didn’t miss a set all week in Adelaide and the 35-year-old couldn’t have hoped for better preparation for the Australian Open.

Gael Monfils beat Karen Khachanov to win Adelaide International

Gael Monfils beat Karen Khachanov to win Adelaide International

Monfils, who was reduced to tears when he exited the Australian Open in the first round last year, was pleased with his consistency in Adelaide.

“I think I played all these games very well, I was doing well,” he said, adding that the pandemic has hit him “pretty badly”.

“For me it’s a key, I always move well, then I can be more aggressive, use the forehand more, use the serve more.

“The goal is to maintain all this confidence, to carry into next week. Not starting tomorrow, but next week, to be ready to try to compete for the great AO.”

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