Rafael Nadal says reaching Melbourne Summer Set final is ‘important comeback’

Rafael Nadal hits a backhand
Rafael Nadal is set to play in the Australian Open later in January

Rafael Nadal says reaching the Melbourne Summer Set final is an “important comeback” in his first competitive tournament since August.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion missed the end of the 2021 season with a foot injury and had Covid-19 in December.

Nadal will face qualifier Maxime Cressy in the Melbourne final after beating Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 7-5.

“It’s an important comeback after five months outside of competition,” the Spaniard said.

“I need to do some things better on court, but it’s step by step. My body is holding up and that’s the main thing.

“I need matches to get back to 100%. I know my tennis isn’t perfect, but it’s about being patient and doing my best.”

American Cressy, 24, claimed an impressive 7-5 7-6 (11-9) win against former world number three Grigor Dimitrov to continue his sensational run in Melbourne.

Canada reach first ATP Cup final

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov point at each other
Canada have never reached the ATP Cup final before

In Sydney, Canada set up their first ATP Cup final against Spain after fighting off defending champions Russia in a tense semi-final doubles rubber.

Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime came from behind to beat Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6 7-5 10-7 in the decider on Saturday.

World number 14 Shapovalov won his singles match against 167th-ranked Safiullin 6-4 5-7 6-4, before world number two Medvedev levelled things with a 6-4 6-0 defeat of Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked 11th.

A Canadian break of serve late in the second set meant the doubles was decided by a tie-breaker in Sydney and Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime maintained their momentum to claim victory.

Shapovalov said: “We kept fighting. Felix played unbelievable in the game to break and then in the tie-break as well, just making them play so much.

“We have great team spirit, so it helped us a lot.”

Great Britain were knocked out of the tournament when Canada beat Germany on Thursday.

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