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Nadal off to strong start at Brisbane International, into quarterfinals

Here comes Rafael Nadal!

It may be too early, of course, to crown Nadal the soon-to-be Australian Open. Heck, he has a long way to go before he can even win the Brisbane International. Whatever the case, Nadal’s comeback to tennis after missing almost all of 2023 is off to an outstanding start. The 37-year-old has advanced to the quarterfinals in Brisbane with wins over Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler.

Following a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Thiem on Tuesday, Nadal erased Kubler 6-1, 6-2 on Thursday night. The 22-time Grand Slam champion will meet another Aussie, Jordan Thompson, in the quarters on Friday.

“I think I started the match playing very well, with a very good determination,” Nadal commented. “I saw videos of Jason before the match and I saw him playing very solidly from the baseline, so I came on court and tried to be aggressive with my shots from the baseline. It worked very well.

“I think it was a very positive match for me and the chance to play again tomorrow means a lot to me. Two victories after a long time being outside of the professional tour is something that makes me feel good.”

Nadal and Thompson will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers. Unsurprisingly, the Spaniard took both of their previous meetings; 6-1, 7-6(3) at the 2020 Paris Masters and 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 at Roland Garros in 2022.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.