Rafael Nadal wins on return to tennis after eight month absence

Spaniard wins doubles match in Chile

Rafael Nadal made a winning return to action after eight months out through injury and illness when he partnered Juan Monaco to a straight sets doubles victory in the opening round of the VTR Open in Chile.

Nadal, whose last competitive match came in a shock second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June, was forced to abort his return from a knee injury in December after being struck down by a stomach virus - an illness which ruled him out of last month's Australian Open.

The former world number one was back on court in Vina del Mar today, though, as he and Argentine Monaco record an impressive 6-3 6-2 victory over second seeds Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy in a match that lasted just over an hour.

The 26-year-old 11-time major winner, who has not contested an ATP tournament in South America since 2005, is scheduled to make his singles comeback against Argentinian Federico Delbonis tomorrow.

The Spaniard is the tournament's top seed and received a first-round bye.

Nadal expressed his delight at returning to competitive tennis.

"It was a great feeling to play again and I'm very happy for doing it with a friend like Monaco in a great atmosphere that we had on the court," Nadal said on the ATP Tour official website.

"In doubles the effort is always less [taxing]; we will see how it goes in singles and how my physical condition is.

"I chose this tournament because it is the perfect time and surface."

PA

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