Nadal roars off to victory in Madrid | sports | Hindustan Times
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Nadal roars off to victory in Madrid

Rafael Nadal thrilled a sold-out home crowd with a comeback performance to win his 78th match of the season as he began the chase for a second title at the Madrid Masters.

sports Updated: Oct 15, 2008 13:29 IST

Rafael Nadal thrilled a sold-out home crowd with a comeback performance to win his 78th match of the season as he began the chase for a second title at the Madrid Masters.

The top-seeded world number one who claimed his only trophy in the capital in 2005, yesterday rallied past upcoming Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 riding a late break in the final set to victory.

Nadal, holder of eight titles this season including Paris, Wimbledon and the Olympics, has stalled in the quarter-final at the last two Madrid editions.

He was playing for the first time since leading Spain into the Davis Cup final against Argentina three weeks ago.

The Spanish hero failed to convert on his first match point against the 20-year-old Gulbis, but reached the third round on his second opportunity.

"It was a very tough match and and important one to win," said the relieved Nadal. "Gulbis is young with a great future ahead of him. "He fought back well in the second set, winning the important games. I pulled out my best game when I had to.

"It was tough to attack him, and this was my first match in a few weeks to I have things to improve."

Nadal will play on Thursday against French 15th seed Richard Gasquet, a winner over Mardy Fish 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3.

Scot Andy Murray stormed to the third round as good fortune ran out for Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli 6-0, 2-1 retired.