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Rafael Nadal marks latest comeback with dominant victory over Dominic Thiem at Brisbane International

Spain's Rafael Nadal 37, marked his singles return after year out with victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem in Australia; Nadal was sidelined with hip injury and underwent surgery at start of June; He made first return in doubles match on Sunday alongside Marc Lopez

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Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in straight sets on his return to action in Brisbane, following a year out of the sport

Rafael Nadal marked his latest comeback with a superb 7-5 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Brisbane International on Tuesday. 

The victory comes in Nadal's first singles appearance in a year, with the 37-year-old having featured in a doubles defeat alongside Marc Lopez to Australians Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson on Sunday.

Nadal will face the winner of Australia's Jason Kubler against Russia's Aslan Karatsev in the next round.

Image: Nadal marked his singles comeback after a year out with victory over Thiem

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Nadal proved he's lost none of his competitive edge with a dazzling display of skill and speed in his clash with Thiem
Image: Thiem, a former US Open winner and seven years Nadal's junior, was no match for him on the day

Nadal made just six unforced errors and dropped only three points on his serve in the first set. He won eight of the last nine games to clinch victory in 89 minutes.

Now ranked No 672 and playing on a wild card in Brisbane after a long rehabilitation due to a hip injury, Nadal said the last 12 months had been among the toughest of his professional career.

"Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis career without a doubt," Nadal said on court following the victory.

"To have the chance to come back after a year and play in front of an amazing crowd and play at a very positive level is something that probably makes us feel proud - myself, all the team, family that have been there every single day during the last year.

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"I missed being healthy, I missed feeling myself competitive and playing in front of full crowds like this.

"Things went well and I'm excited to be back again tomorrow."

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Rafael Nadal says it was an emotional day after winning his first match of the season following one of the 'toughest years of my tennis career'.

"The support is super important, especially in the low moments," added Nadal.

"I had the chance to receive thousands of messages during all of this year and having great people next to me every single day makes the difference without a doubt.

"I don't have a real test about how the level was, I have been too long outside. The first set was very equal, both us serving very well.

"Then I was able to have that break at 6-5, so that makes the difference.

"I know Dominic has been going through some hard times with injuries too so I'm happy to see him on court and I wish him all the very best for the season."

In the opening match of the day on the covered Pat Rafter Arena, No 51-ranked Yannick Hanfmann of Germany beat fifth-seeded Sebastian Korda 7-5, 6-4 in a first-round contest.

In the women's draw, 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin was upset by No 113-ranked Arina Rodionova 7-5, 7-6 (7) in the second round.

Kenin was constantly under pressure on her serve despite having chances in both sets against Rodionova, a 34-year-old Australian who has never been ranked in the top 100.

Kenin was seeded 14th in Brisbane, a key tune-up tournament for the Australian Open starting January 14 in Melbourne.

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