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


Rafael Nadal dropped his opening set on the US Open however recovered to defeat Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3.

It means Nadal stays unbeaten in his 20 grand slams matches this yr having triumphed on the Australian Open and French Open earlier than withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals on account of damage.

The Spaniard was taking part in his first US Open match since profitable his fourth title at Flushing Meadows in 2019, and he needed to overcome an early scare towards world No. 198 Hijikata.

“I was a little bit nervous,” Nadal stated of his efficiency within the first set. “First match here in New York after three years, a night session, it’s always exciting. I went through this tough moment.”

Hijikata secured the opening break with a lob at 3-3 earlier than serving out for an early lead, however Nadal started to say his dominance within the second set – breaking Hijitaka’s serve on the first alternative.

Nadal appeared untroubled from there – leveling the match with one other break, then taking the following two units to finish the victory in simply over three hours. He ended the match with 42 winners and 22 unforced errors.

READ: Defending champion Raducanu and Osaka each lose in US Open first spherical

With no Novak Djokovic within the draw, Nadal has probability of profitable his twenty third grand slam title at this yr’s US Open.

Nevertheless, he enters the match quick on match expertise having performed simply as soon as since retiring from Wimbledon with an belly pressure – a defeat towards Borna Ćorić on the Western & Southern Open.

“You know what, I have been practicing quite well during the whole week,” Nadal stated. “Then competing is a different story. You need to go through all this process – it’s not easy.”

The 36-year-old was additionally questioned about taking too lengthy between his serves throughout Tuesday’s sport, however Nadal insisted umpires weren’t giving him totally different therapy and failing to giving him warnings for exceeding the time restrict between serves.

“I have a problem that I am sweating a lot,” he defined. “If you end up taking part in throughout these very humid situations, we now have the largest drawback at present, that’s we don’t have the ballboys bringing the towel to you for the final couple of years – it’s important to go to the farthest place of the court docket to take the towel.

“The problem for players like me is that I am sweating that much. When you go to pick up the towel, you are going to be in trouble with the time, so I am not going very often. I don’t think I have a different treatment from the umpires at all.”

Nadal will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini within the second spherical – a participant he has overwhelmed 13 occasions throughout 17 matches.