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Nadal denied title by Zeballos in comeback tournament

Published on Feb 11, 2013 8:37 AM
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal reacts after losing his ATP Vina del Mar tournament final singles match against Argentine Horacio Zeballos in Vina del Mar, about 120 km north-west of Santiago, on February 10, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AFP) - Horacio Zeballos denied Rafael Nadal a fairytale finish to his comeback tournament on Sunday, rallying to hand the Spaniard a rare clay court defeat in the US$410,200 (S$507,741) ATP event here.

Zeballos, ranked 73rd in the world and playing in just his second ATP Tour final, rallied to beat the former world number one 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.

He became just the third player - along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer - to beat Nadal in a clay court final, quite an achievement for the Argentinian despite the fact that Nadal was playing his first tournament in seven months.

Nadal was back in action this week for the first time since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon in June.

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