Rafael Nadal: 'Difficult to take a lot of positive things but...'

“Difficult to take many positive things, but …”

With another 1,000 points on offer at this week’s Western & Southern Open, the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin continues to heat up as players compete for the eight spots available at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals. Felix Auger-Aliassime, fresh from his quarter-final run in his hometown of Montreal, is poised to make his debut at the year-end event.

The Canadian, seventh in the race with 2645 points, pulled away from the chasing pack with a solid performance in Cincinnati. In seventh place, he meets either Alex de Minaur or qualifier Henri Laaksonen in his first game, with a possible quarter-final clash with race director Rafael Nadal.

From the 22-year-old to 11th-placed Montreal champion Pablo Carreno Busta, less than 600 points separate five players competing in this week’s ATP Masters 1000 event. Also included in this group are finalist Andrey Rublev, Montreal runner-up Hubert Hurkacz and American Taylor Fritz, who is seeking his second Masters 1000 title on home soil after his big win at Indian Wells this season.

Also within striking distance of a top eight this week are Matteo Berrettini, Cameron Norrie, Jannik Sinner and Marin Cilic, who could climb to eighth place or better with a title depending on other results. At the top of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Nadal has a good lead with 5,630 points over second-placed Carlos Alcaraz with 4,290.

Nadal will become the first player to qualify for Torino if he reaches the semifinals in Cincinnati this week.

Rafa gave an honest assessment of his match

Rafael Nadal is not considering his early exit from the 2022 Cincinnati Open.

“You lose. You move forward. I know the way. The most important thing for me is to stay healthy. It was a difficult injury to deal with, to be honest. The last month and a half has not been easy, because with a ruptured stomach white you don’t know when it’s 100% over, so that impacts a little on the uncertainty of trying your best on each serve,” he said.

Nadal also gave an honest assessment of his match, stating that there is still a lot to do before the US Open. “It’s difficult to take a lot of positive things, but I think I need to improve. I need to practice.

I better go back. I need days, and that’s the truth, isn’t it? Obviously I had my chances at the beginning. In the tie-break I had two important chances with two set balls, which I squandered terribly with two more or less easy shots. And then, yes, bad play in the third. That’s it,” he said.

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