Rafael Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes, 6-1, 6-2 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Rio Open, presented by Claro hdtv. Nadal moves on to face Portugal’s Joao Sousa, who defeated Spain’s Albert Ramos 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3. Nadal was hampered by a back injury throughout the match, wearing some elastic tape across the injured back to alleviate the issue.
Nadal is playing his first tournament since falling to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final in late January.
“When you get injured in the final of a Grand Slam and stop for two-and-half weeks, it’s not easy to come back,” said Nadal. “The back is still bothering me a little bit. But I am happy with my decision to be here."
Also into the quarters is Alexandr Dolgopolov, a 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-6(4) winner over Facundo Bagnis. Dolgopolov will next face Fabio Fognini, who edged Pablo Cuevas 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-3 for his spot in the quarters.