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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Nadal targets return at Mexico Open

Sports Shorts: Nadal targets return at Mexico Open

February 06, 2018 13:31 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons, who made news on Tuesday

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE:  Rafael Nadal in deep discussion with coach Carlos Moya at a training session. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

World number one Rafael Nadal, who is currently recovering from a thigh injury, is hoping to make a return in competitive tennis by the end of this month.

The Spanish maestro was forced to retire from season-opening Grand Slam-- Australian Open-in the quarter-final clash against Croatia's Marin Cilic due to the same injury.

Nadal was also expected to miss the Mexican Open at the end of the month to allow him to recover fully, but he believes he would be fit in time to be back for the Acapulco tournament, beginning February 26.

"It's a small injury that needs time and rest and recovery, and that's what we're doing. For the moment my schedule is the same and I think I'll be able to travel to Mexico to play at Acapulco," the Daily Express quoted Nadal, as saying.

The 31-year-old's comments came after bagging the Sportsperson of the Year award at the Mundo Deportivo Grand Gala.

In case, Nadal does not play in Mexico or fails to reach the semi-finals of the tournament and Roger Federer wins the Dubai Open in the same week, then the top-ranked player would lose his spot to the Swiss star, who recently lifted his sixth Australian Open title. 

All eyes on Ankita and Karman as Fed Cup challenge begins

It will be an uphill task for Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi to catapult the Indian Fed Cup team to the World Group when the Asia/Oceania Group I challenge begins, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

India has not qualified for the Fed Cup World Group since 1991, but the spirited youngsters are expected to push their rivals in the Asia/Oceania Group I challenge.

Both Ankita and Karman had decent, if not great, 2017 season during which they were consistent on the ITF circuit. Ankita also reached the singles finals at the $ 60,000 event in Luan.

Ankita has the experience of tackling top-125 players and knows what is required to pull off matches in this competition.

Being the number one and most experienced player from the host team, Ankita will carry a lot of expectations on her shoulders.

It will be a tough and challenging first day of the tournament for India as the hosts are up against against China in their campaign opener.

Ankita will lock horns with world number 120 Lin Zhu, to whom she had lost the title clash of the Luan event in May, last year.

Delhi girl Karman too did well in 2017, as twice she made the singles final apart from making a lot of semifinals at the $ 25,000 level tournaments.

She will open India's campaign against world number 125 Wang Yafan.

Prarthana Thombare has also improved since shifting her focus more on doubles and if Pranjala Yadlapalli gets to play, she will make her Fed Cup debut.

However, the competition is stiff with teams such as Kazakshtan fielding strong players as world number 50 Yuliya Pitintseva and world number 60 Zarina Diyas.

Japan too has top-100 player such as world number 98 Nao Hibino and Kurumi Nara, who is ranked 103.

India have been clubbed with Kazakshtan, Hong Kong and China. The Group B comprises Japan, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Korea.

The Indian team has done well to remain in Group I and has not lost its place after reclaiming it in 2016.