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Nadal grins and bears pain to reach final

ESPN staff
February 17, 2013 « Donald fading in Haas' wake | Chartbeat test »

Rafael Nadal went through the pain barrier to reach his second successive final since returning from a serious knee injury by beating Martin Alund at the Brasil Open.

Nadal's 6-3 6-7(2) 6-1 victory sets up an intriguing final match-up against doubles partner David Nalbandian on Sunday.

Nadal made his return after nearly eight months at the VTR Open in Chile at the start of February but lost in the final to Horacio Zeballos.

The Spaniard then pulled out of the doubles draw with Nalbandian earlier in the week to save his knee for the singles and, given his complaints after his semi-final, it was a shrewd move.

"It was the worst day for my knee, and if the knee is not well it makes it very difficult to play,'' Nadal said.

"But I am happy with the result. After seven months without playing it's good to reach the final again, even if I'm not at my best."

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