Rafael Nadal loses his first match after a six-week injury absence | Tennis News

Borna Coric spoiled the return of Rafael Nadal after a six-week layoff, beating the Spanish star 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3 on Wednesday night at the Western & Southern Open.

The winner of a men’s record 22 Grand Slam championships, including two this year, had not played since July 6 after an abdominal tear forced him to withdraw from a semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. He was hoping to start putting the finishing touches on preparations for the upcoming US Open.

Nadal, 36, the second seed and third, showed no signs of the injury which mainly affected his serve. He reached 121 mph with a serve and needed several awkward body movements to return some of Coric’s shots.

The match lasted 2 hours 51 minutes, not counting a rain delay of 1 hour 25 minutes in the first set.

Earlier in the women’s game, US Open champion Emma Raducanu defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.

Raducanu, 19, won the last seven games against Serena Williams on Tuesday and the first 10 against Azarenka. Seeded 13th, Raducanu set up a match against No. 8 Jessica Pegula.

“I try not to think about the score,” said Raducanu. “I just try to focus on collecting points. I’m always worried when everything is going well. I always feel like something could go wrong.

Sixth-seeded Simona Halep pulled out with a right thigh injury before facing Veronica Kudermetova. Halep won last week in Toronto.

In an all-England men’s second-round match, 11th-placed Cameron Norrie outlasted three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Additionally, Taylor Fritz beat Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 and 19-year-old joker Ben Shelton upset fifth-placed Casper Ruud. Shelton is the youngest American to defeat a top-five opponent since Andy Roddick beat No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

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