Nadal continues to shake off rust for Aussie Open

A day after knocking off some rust in an exhibition loss to Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Rafael Nadal continued his Australian Open warm-up with a more convincing appearance on the grounds he hopes to dominate starting next week.

The world No. 1 played three times at the Tie Break Tens on Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday, beating France’s Lucas Rouille 10-1 and then Lleyton Hewitt 13-11 before losing to Tomas Berdych in the final.

The unique event has players play only tie-breaks, with the overall winner taking a prize of about $250,000.

Nadal, who coming into this week hadn’t played since mid-November due to a lingering knee injury, lost to Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 in an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic on Tuesday.

“I’m good and I am here so that’s good news, and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open,” Nadal told the press after Tuesday’s match.

Nadal will enter the Australian Open, which begins Monday, as one of the favorites after losing last year’s final in five sets to Roger Federer.