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Rafa Nadal celebrates at Australian open 2021

WATCH: Rafael Nadal hits tweener to win epic point at Citi Open

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Rafael Nadal overcame Jack Sock in a thrilling three-set battle on his debut at the Citi Open in Washington as he returned from injury.

The world number three prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1) against the American wildcard in just over three hours in the second round of the ATP 500 tournament.

The 20-time major champion had not played since his French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic – almost two months ago – due to a foot injury.

Nadal saved three break points in his second service game, and won a superbly entertaining rally in the following game – where Sock saved a break point to hold.

The 35-year-old Spaniard then produced an impressive surge to win four straight games and break twice to take the opening set.

World No. 192 Sock hit back in the second set by securing his first break to go up 4-3 and – after Nadal saved three set points on serve – served it out after not facing a break point.

The 28-year-old continued his strong run into the decider as he broke in the opening game en route to taking a 3-1 lead. Nadal broke back for 3-3, before six straight holds took the match to a third set tiebreak.

The top seed stormed to a 5-0 advantage, and earned a third mini-break before taking the tiebreak 7-1 to win a gruelling contest.

Nadal will face 14th seed Lloyd Harris for the first time in the last 16 in Washington.


Rafa Nadal celebrates at Australian open 2021
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