Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open

It means Nadal is unbeaten in 20 Grand Slam matches this year, having won the Australian Open and French Open before withdrawing from the Wimbledon semi-finals due to injury.

The Spaniard was playing his first US Open match since winning his fourth title at Flushing Meadows in 2019, and overcame an early scare against world No. 198 Hijikata.

“I was a bit nervous,” Nadal said of his performance in the first set. “The first match here in New York in three years, the night session, it’s always exciting. I got through that tough moment.”

Hijikata grabbed the opening break with a lob at 3-3 before taking an early lead, but Nadal began to dominate in the second set – breaking Hijikata’s serve at the first opportunity.

Nadal looked troubled from there — leveling the match with another break, then taking the next two sets to complete victory in just over three hours. He finished the match with 42 winners and 22 unforced errors.

Without Novak Djokovic in the draw, Nadal has a good chance of winning his 23rd Grand Slam title at this year’s US Open.

However, he enters the tournament short on match experience. Played only once after retiring from Wimbledon. With Stomach Strain — Defeat against Borna Currie in Western & Southern Open.

“You know I’ve been practicing pretty well all week,” Nadal said. “Then competing is a different story. You have to go through that whole process — it’s not easy.”

The 36-year-old was also questioned about taking too much time between serves during Tuesday’s match, but Nadal insisted the umpires were not treating him differently and allowed him time between serves. had failed to give warning for exceeding the limit.

“I have a problem that I sweat a lot,” he explained. “When you’re playing in these extremely humid conditions, the biggest problem we’ve had today is that we’ve had ballboys for the last two years not bring you towels — you’re the furthest away Have to go to the place of Court to get a towel.

“The problem for players like me is that I’m sweating so much. When you go to get a towel, you worry about time, so I don’t go very often. I don’t think I have any different to the umpires. behavior.”

In the second round, Nadal will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini — a player who has lost 13 times in 17 matches.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *