VINA DEL MAR, Chile Rafa Nadal made a successful comeback after a seven-month injury absence with victory in the first round of the Chilean Open doubles on Tuesday.
The former world number one and Argentine partner Juan Monaco overpowered second-seeded Czechs Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy 6-3 6-2 in 65 minutes at the Pacific coastal city of Vina del March
Spanish left-hander Nadal had been out with a knee problem since losing to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June.
The 26-year-old's planned return at the end of last year was delayed due to illness but he will compete on his favourite clay surface at three Latin American events this month.
On Wednesday, Nadal plays a second-round singles match against Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.
After the Chile tournament he will compete at the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo next week and the Mexico Open in Acapulco from February 25.
(Reporting by Javier Leira in Santiago, editing by Rex Gowar and Tony Jimenez)