Sleep is the word for returning Rafa

Jet-lagged yet feeling the love, Rafael Nadal believes his best hopes of enjoying a triumphant Brisbane International debut is to sleep like a baby.

Nadal, continuing an impressive comeback from injury, had more trouble staying awake at his post-match press conference than disposing of first-round opponent Alexandr Dolgopolov late Tuesday night.

The 14-time grand slam winner put away Dolgopolov 6-3 6-3 just before midnight, about 36 hours after flying into Brisbane following his victorious efforts at the Mudabala Open in Abu Dhabi.

He gave his post-match press conference after 12.30am and had to apologise for mid-answer yawns.

Asked what he would do on Wednesday to relax, Nadal, currently ranked No.9, said there was just one thing on his mind.

“Sleep. I gonna try to sleep well. It’s late,” he said.

“Gonna try to sleep well tonight and just not wake up very early tomorrow.

“It was an important match for me and not much time to adjust the game and to adapt myself to the conditions, so it was great that I was able to play late.”

The fifth seed, who is on a quarter-final collision course with defending champion Milos Raonic, is set to meet German stalwart Mischa Zverev on Thursday.

The second seed, world No.4 Stan Wawrinka, will make his Brisbane debut on Wednesday against Viktor Troiki while wildcard Jordan Thompson will fly the Australian flag when he meets eight seed David Ferrer, who disposed of Bernard Tomic in the first round.

Hometown girl Ash Barty, who brushed aside Aleksandra Krunic in her WTA return, will get a major test of her tennis comeback when she meets world No.1 Angelique Kerber in the last match on centre court.

“I’m really looking forward to play against a really young Australian girl,” Kerber said. “I think the crowd will be there, and it’s of course a tough match.”

Another young Australian, Melbourne 16-year-old Destanee Aiava, will also face a huge test of her talents when she meets fifth seed Svetlana Kutznetsova.

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