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Rafael Nadal gets Wimbledon campaign underway

Nadal hasn't reached the fourth round since 2011. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal got his Wimbledon campaign underway against Brazilian Thomaz Belluci in London's sweltering heat this afternoon.

The 2008 and 2010 winner hasn't advanced past the fourth round since 2011, but started brightly today with a 6-4 victory in the first set.

Nadal currently leads Belluci 2-0 with an early break in the second set, and could meet British number one Andy Murray in the fourth round this year.


Djokovic too good for Nadal in Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic overpowered eight-time champion Rafael Nadal to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic was too good for Nadal in Monte Carlo. Credit: Reuters

Djokovic, the world number one, will meet Tomas Berdych in Sunday's final and victory will see the Serb become the first player to sweep the opening three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s of the season.

The 27-year-old has not dropped a set on his 2015 clay-court debut this week and he was simply too good for Nadal as he closed out a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory in one hour and 38 minutes.

Nadal managed an early break but Australian Open champion Djokovic levelled at 2-2 and broke the Spaniard in the eighth game to take a stranglehold on the first set.

Djokovic's second-set pressure told in the seventh game as he broke for a 4-3 lead and he rattled off the final two games, with only Berdych now in his way from adding the Monte Carlo title to his March Masters wins in Indian Wells and Miami.

Sixth seed Berdych booked a spot in his fourth Masters 1000 final by ending the run of wild card entry Gael Monfils 6-1 6-4.

Nadal suffers shock exit in Miami

Nadal was beaten by Verdasco. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the Miami Open on Sunday as he suffered a shock defeat to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The second seed is a four-time finalist in Florida but has never won the tournament and will have to wait at least another year after going down 6-4 2-6 6-3 to his countryman.

Nadal fought back well after losing the first set and looked to have all the momentum but was broken to go 3-1 down in the third and Verdasco held his nerve to move into the last-16.

British third seed Andy Murray cruised to a 6-3 6-4 victory over Santiago Giraldo with the minimum of fuss.


Nadal one away from clay-court record

Rafa Nadal is one away from a record. Credit: Reuters

Rafael Nadal secured a record-equalling 46th clay-court title by beating Juan Monaco in the final of the Argentina Open presentado por Buenos Aires Ciudad.

Nadal won 6-4 6-1 in a little under an hour and a half to draw level with Guillermo Vilas for the number of titles won on clay.

Nadal: No excuses over Berdych defeat

Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses after his record-equalling winning streak over Tomas Berdych came to a comprehensive end in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Berdych won three of his first four meetings with Nadal but had not tasted victory over the Spaniard since 2006, his 17 straight defeats equalling a record in the open era.

However, the 29-year-old Czech picked the ideal time to end the sequence with a stunning 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7/5) victory on Rod Laver Arena and has yet to drop a set in the championship.

I didn't play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me.

It is a day that I just can congratulate my opponent. It is obvious that I needed something more to be more competitive, as I did in the third set. The third was the right set, the right game that I have to play.

But is obvious that before I didn't play with the right confidence, with the right intensity, losing court (position), playing very short. I make him play very easy. So you cannot expect to win matches in quarter-finals of a grand slam helping the opponent to play well.

– Rafael Nadal.

Snapshots: Sports photos of the day

Our selection of Friday's best photographs from the wide world of sport.

Russia's synchronised swimming team trains in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Reuters
Rafael Nadal celebrates in style after defeating Dudi Sela of Israel in the Australian Open third round. Credit: Reuters
Man's best friend: A touching scene at the annual Sedivackuv dog sled race in the Czech Republic. Credit: Reuters
An Israeli competitor in the World Medieval Fighting Championship – yes, it exists – suits up. Credit: Reuters
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