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Rafael Nadal beats Jason Kubler at Brisbane International to continue comeback with second win

Rafael Nadal beat Australia's Jason Kubler in straight sets at Brisbane International; the 37-year-old has been out for a year after long rehabilitation from hip injury; he has returned with two consecutive singles victories

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The best of the action from Rafael Nadal's match against Jason Kubler at the Brisbane International

Rafael Nadal continued his comeback with a second victory at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

The Spaniard beat local hope Jason Kubler 6-1 6-2 to advance to the quarter-finals, where he will face Jordan Thompson on Friday.

Nadal, 37, had been kept out of the sport for a year as he recovered from a hip injury but after a comprehensive win over Dominic Thiem earlier this week, he was similarly dominant against Kubler.

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Rafael Nadal had a dispute with the umpire after being given a warning for taking too long on his toilet break

Nadal racked up 20 winners, including some ripping forehands, and eight unforced errors.

He lost only one point in his first three service games - a double-fault on the second point of the match. But he was able to dig himself out of a hole as well by winning five straight points when he faced three breaks while serving for the first set.

"I think I started the match playing very well," Nadal said. "I played with very good determination.

"I saw videos of Jason before the match and I saw him play solid from the baseline so I came on court trying to be aggressive and played my shots from the baseline and did very well.

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Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning a point in his match against Jason Kubler of Australia during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Image: Nadal's comeback from injury continues with two consecutive singles victories

"I think it was a very positive match for me and having the chance to play again tomorrow means a lot to me.

"Two victories after being a long time outside of the professional tour is something that makes me feel good and I'm happy for that.

"I need matches, I need health, I need to keep practising well and of course the last two matches here helps, and even the doubles on the first day too. Of course victories and hours on court help.

"For me every chance that I have to play is great news. I'm just happy for that, happy that I came back after a long time and I feel myself competitive. That's all I want and then let's see what's going on and how far I can go."

Nadal handled the action on the court, but was warned for taking too long for a toilet break.

"I came out at the right time," Nadal said. "I thought I was on time, then he told me I was four seconds late. I am slow, I know that, and I'm going to be keep trying to improve that in 2024."

Broady beaten

Meanwhile, at the Hong Kong Open, Liam Broady was unable to celebrate his 30th birthday with one of the biggest wins of his career as he lost out 6-4 7-6 (8) to world No 5 Andrey Rublev.

He might have lost in straight sets, but the Briton came close to winning the second and forcing the match into a third.

Broady served for the second set at 5-4 and then held three set points in the tie-break, but Russian Rublev saved all of them before taking his first chance.

The consolation for Broady, who came through qualifying, is he will return to the top 100 on Monday prior to trying to qualify for the Australian Open.

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