Rafael Nadal makes his first appearance in Hamburg since 2008.

Nadal Battles Past Verdasco In Hamburg

Top seed Rafael Nadal needs three sets to reach the second round

Top seed Rafael Nadal came from a set deficit to beat Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 at the bet-at-home Open on Tuesday.

“It’s a very important victory,” said Nadal. “For my mentality, it is important to finish the match better than how I started. To be able to make that change during the match was a very positive thing to me. I’m just happy [with] the way I came back.”

In his first appearance in Hamburg since hoisting the trophy in 2008, the Mallorcan improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Verdasco to 14-2.

Nadal broke immediately for a 1-0 lead, but Verdasco held his nerve to break back. The World No. 41 applied pressure yet again in the sixth game, breaking the top seed for a 4-2 lead. Verdasco went on to clinch the opening set after 37 minutes, having hit 10 winners.

It took Nadal 12 minutes to hold serve in the opening game of the second set. The World No. 10 then struck first to break his compatriot, and then held to race to a 3-0 lead. Another break for Nadal put him two games away from levelling the match. Verdasco’s first ace of the match game him a hold for 1-5, but Nadal would serve out the set at love.

Nadal earned a critical break in the decider for a 2-1 lead and saved all four break points he faced in the set to eventually clinch the victory and set a second-round clash with the winner of Jiri Vesely and Andreas Haider-Maurer.

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