Nadal Beats Hijikata To Set Up Fognini Clash At US Open

Rafael Nadal took time to find his rhythm on Tuesday night at the US Open, but the four-time champion found it and advanced to the second round.

The Spaniard edged out #NextGenATP Australian Rinka Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows, where he competes for the first time since winning the title in 2019. The second seed has won 19 of his last 20 Grand Slam final matches of the season, and he has won all 20 of his major championship matches this year.

“It was a long wait. For a while, I thought that I might not be able to return, so I am very happy. Night training is best,” Nadal said. “I just have to be humble and accept the process, day by day in training and matches, and stay positive.”

Nadal Beats Hijikata To Set Up Fognini Clash At US Open Shift Learning - Latest News Information, Entertainment, Sports, Viral

Nadal will then face a major test against Italy’s Fabio Fognini, who rallied after two sets against the 22-time New York Slam champion in 2015. Nadal leads the ATP Head2Head doubles series 13-4.

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Hijikata was not afraid of the stage or his opponent at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals contender opened fire, playing aggressively to keep Nadal from dominating the game.

“I think I didn’t start too bad the first couple of games, but then I had some opportunities that I couldn’t convert,” Nadal said. “I think I didn’t play my serve very well. Then he had a break. Then I got a little nervous. The first match here in New York, after three years, the night session is always interesting. through this difficult moment.

The Aussie hit 11 winners and just six unforced errors in the first set, causing New York crowds to roar to celebrate some of his best shots. The 21-year-old gained experience in an important match earlier this month in Los Cabos, where he made world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev work hard for a straight set win.

But winning a set against Nadal and claiming three are two very different things, which is why Nadal hasn’t lost his opening match in a Major since the 2016 Australian Open. Nadal served well in the second set, hitting 75% of his first innings and scoring 93% of those points, which changed the course of the game.

From there the Spaniard was never in danger. Nadal broke down at the start of the last three sets and never lost control.

Nadal Beats Hijikata To Set Up Fognini Clash At US Open Shift Learning - Latest News Information, Entertainment, Sports, Viral

“It’s always the same story: it’s not perfect when you don’t compete very often, when you’re recovering from an injury. You have to be humble enough to go through this process and accept that you have to fight and you have to accept it. you will suffer. This is what I did today,” Nadal said. “I will be able to play again in two days and I hope to play better.”

This was Nadal’s second match after Wimbledon where he withdrew before the semi-finals due to a ruptured abdomen. The left-hander lost his first match at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati to eventual champion Borna Coric.

Nadal’s Next Opponent, Fognini, Was Also Challenged. The Italian Beat Aslan Karatsev 1-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 In Three Hours And 34 Minutes.

Did You Know?

Nadal has pole position to leave New York and become the #1 Pepperstone ATP player. Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz and Kasper Ruud have to reach at least the final to have a chance to prevent the Spaniard from taking first place.

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