US Open: Rafael Nadal recovers to secure victory in the first round | Tennis News


Rafael Nadal lost his opening set at the US Open for the first time in his career but was buoyed by his recovery to beat Rinky Hijikata.

Nadal is out of matches after suffering an abdominal tear at Wimbledon and Australian joker Hijikata seized his opportunity at Arthur Ashe Stadium with a brilliant first set.

But Nadal, who has yet to lose a Grand Slam match this year, fought back straight away and secured a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3 victory to set up a second-round clash with his compatriot. veteran Fabio Fognini.

Nadal said: “Obviously it was a difficult game. I think I started the first two games not so badly, but then I had opportunities that I couldn’t take.

“I think I didn’t play a good game with my serve. Then he got the break. Then I was a bit nervous.

“First game here in New York after three years, night session, it’s always exciting. I went through that tough time.

“But then I think I played better. It wasn’t perfect. But I’m happy.

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“Second game in 50 days, more or less. In a way, it was not the day to play perfectly.

“It’s a day to get the job done, and that’s what I did. Happy for that.”

Italian Fognini handed Nadal his first-ever Grand Slam defeat after two sets in 2015 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

ninth seed Andrei Rublev and 11th seed Jannik Sinner were both pushed to five sets but prevailed against Laslo Djere and Daniel Altmaier respectively.

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