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Zeballos topples Nadal in Chile final

11 February 2013 02:07

Rafael Nadal's first tournament since returning from injury ended in disappointment with a shock loss to Horacio Zeballos in the VTR Open final.

Top seed Nadal, who was competing in his first event since Wimbledon last year, was an overwhelming favourite against Zeballos, but the world number 73 produced a stunning 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 victory.

It was the first ATP Tour title of the Argentine's career and the first time he has beaten a top 10 player in three attempts.

In a tight contest, 11-time grand slam champion Nadal looked on track for his 51st title when he took the first set in a tie-breaker after no breaks of serve.

Serve once again dominated the second set, but it was Zeballos who played the better tennis in the tie-breaker to level the match at a set apiece.

Both players traded breaks in the deciding set before Zeballos broke again in the 10th game to clinch the match.

It was only the fifth singles final that Nadal has lost on clay and the first time he has lost to a player outside the top 50 on clay since he lost to Olivier Mutis in 2004.

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