THE NEW YORK: Rafael Nadal battled back to upset Rinky Hijikata in the No. 2 seed’s opening match at the US Open on Tuesday night after dropping the first set.
Slow to start, Nadal stormed back, much to the pleasure of the Arthur Ashe Stadium audience watching in prime time. Nadal outlasted Hijikata in a difficult game that contained five match points to earn his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 triumph.
Despite having to withdraw from Wimbledon before his scheduled match in the semifinals due to a ruptured abdominal muscle. 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal did not exhibit any significant aftereffects. Due to the fact that he did not enter the court for the match. That does not appear on his record as a defeat.
I went through a difficult time, but I believe I played better after that, no? During his post-match press conference, Nadal questioned the media. Of course, it wasn’t ideal, but happy anyway.
Tuesday, after the post-match handshake, Nadal, who had improved to 16-0 in the first round of the US Open, let out some emotion with many fist pumps and waving to the audience.
Nadal remarked after winning his first match in this tournament since 2019: “Very thrilled, it’s been a long wait.” I thought I might not return, so I wanted to say thank you to everyone.
After the match, Nadal took advantage of the New York spotlight by lingering on the court for an extended period of time. He served tennis balls to spectators, many of whom were still standing after the postmatch interview. On Thursday, he will speak with Fabio Fognini.
Nadal stated, “It’s about the process, to build off the positive stuff.” “A three-hour bout today against a challenging foe. I’m trying to be optimistic. I’m here to give every game my all.”
Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the second round earlier after his opponent had to quit in the third set. When Sebastian Baez gestured that he couldn’t continue due to leg pain or cramps. No. 3 seed Alcaraz was leading 7-5, 7-5, 2-0.
Last year, Alcaraz’s US Open came to the same conclusion. He was the youngest player to advance to the quarterfinals in New York during the professional era at the age of 18. Although he retired against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second set due to an injury to his upper right thigh.
Andrey Rublev of Russia, the No. 9 seed and two-time quarterfinalist at the US Open defeated Laslo Djere in five sets, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, to advance to the second round.
Marin Cilic, the 2014 winner, No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie, No. 8 seed Hubert Hurkacz, No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner, No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman, No. 17 seed Grigor Dimitrov, No. 19 seed Denis Shapovalov, No. 20 seed Daniel Evans, and No. 28 seed Holger Rune, who will play John Isner next, were among the other seeds to advance.
14th seed Injured American opponent Jack Sock resigned with a lead of 6-3, 7-5, 0-6, 0-1 before Diego Schwartzman followed suit.
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