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Rusty Nadal struggles in loss to Gasquet in exhibition match

Rafael Nadal | AP

Rusty Nadal struggles in loss to Gasquet in exhibition match

Justin Bergman (Associated Press) - January 9, 2018 - 11:12am

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal struggled with his timing and normally potent shot-making as he started his delayed preparations for the Australian Open with an error-filled 6-4, 7-5 loss to Richard Gasquet in the Kooyong Classic exhibition event Tuesday.

Nadal's readiness for the first Grand Slam of the year had been in doubt after the top-ranked Spaniard pulled out of an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and a tournament in Brisbane to start the season, citing his lack of preparation following an injury layoff at the end of 2017.

Nadal didn't appear to be hindered by the lingering right knee injury that forced him to withdraw from the ATP Finals in November, but his uneven performance will likely lead to other questions about his match form heading into the Australian Open next week.

RAFAEL NADAL TENNIS
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