Rafael Nadal makes a winning return to a grass court against Kei Nishikori

Rafael Nadal beat world No 11 Kei Nishikori in straight sets on his return to grass for the first time since his shock defeat to Lukas Rosol at last year’s Wimbledon. The Spaniard was a late addition to the BNP Paribas Classic at the Hurlingham Club, having decided a warm-up ahead of the Championships was required, and he triumphed 7-6, 7-6.

“I’m happy to play the event at the Hurlingham Club, especially as I haven’t played on grass since the French Open,” said Nadal.

Nadal broke Nishikori in the opening game – his first on grass since Rosol, then World No 100, held his serve to win in five that balmy June evening 12 months ago – but surrendered his own serve the very next game. The set wound its way to a tie break which Nadal claimed 7-3 after winning five points in a row. Two rasping forehand winners midway through had his particular stamp. The second set went with serve throughout, only for Nadal to edge the breaker 7-4. It was good to see him back.

Source: Daily Mail / Photos: Getty Images, Action Images


  1. Hope Rafa can adapt his game to grass successfully.Grass favors the agressive player with a good serve and return, points are short.Look at the top player’s return position, hugging the baseline, ready to jump.I noticed that Andy is even standing inside the baseline, a la Serena. If Rafa doesn’t move closer in his return stand, I doubt he will get by the top three. I did watch highlights of 2007 and 2008 finals and rafa DID move closer, and was able to return Roger’s serve. arguably the most effective serve of the last decade.

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