Rafael Nadal beat David Nalbandian, 6-2, 6-3, on Sunday in the final of the Brazil Open in São Paulo. It was his 51st career title, but his first since he won his seventh French Open championship last May.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion has chosen to return to action on the clay courts he favours, making the final in Chile last week before losing to world number 73 Horacio Zeballos.
And while his form remained some way short of his best in Sao Paulo, the 26-year-old was well satisfied at ending the week with his 51st tournament victory.
"I'll definitely enjoy this one because of all the problems that I've gone through with the knee," said Nadal, who also won the Brazil title in 2005."
"When I won for the first time here I was just starting and hopefully this will mark a new beginning."
Nalbandian admitted: "I didn't play my best match today, Rafa was much better. I was ahead in the second set but I couldn't take advantage of it."
Nadal will be targeting an eighth French Open title in June, but for now his goals are simple: "I am going to think about Acapulco and nothing else."
He is next scheduled to play at the Mexican Open, starting on 25 February.