Rafael Nadal: 'I gave my everything against Borna Coric'

“I gave everything against Borna Coric”

Rafael Nadal enters his 16th US Open as a 2nd seed and one of the favorites. The Spaniard has a favorable draw and should at least reach the semi-finals if he plays at his best and recovers from an abdominal injury. Nadal injured his stomach at Wimbledon, didn’t work on his serve for almost two weeks and reached the semifinals.

Rafa defeated Taylor Fritz after an epic fight in the quarterfinals and revealed a seven millimeter muscle tear before clashing with Nick Kyrgios. Rafa lost too much energy and struggled with the pain. He withdrew before confronting the Australian and headed home to Mallorca.

Nadal attended training sessions but wasn’t ready to play in Montreal. The Spaniard returned in Cincinnati and faced Borna Coric in the second round. The Croatian stunned world No. 3 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 51 minutes and delivered Rafa’s earliest defeat in almost six years!

Rafael Nadal lost in the second round in Cincinnati.

The Spaniard missed his chances in the opening set, suffering a break in the decider to hit the exit door. There were only three break chances in the entire encounter and the rivals clinched a return leg in sets two and three.

Borna missed the only break chance in the first set with 3:3, and the set went into a tie-break after a rain delay. Rafa came back from a 4-2 deficit to take three points in a row. He earned the first set point at 6-5 but failed to convert it on serve.

Borna saved the second at 6-7 and created his first at 8-7. Nadal saved it with a forced error and denied the second to secure the result at 9-9. Rafa hit an expensive double fault at 9-10 to lose the first set after an hour and 14 minutes!

The Spaniard served well in the second set and got a break after Coric’s loose forehand to make it 3:3. Nadal went 5-3 up with a winner at net and closed the set with another at 5-4 to force a decider. Both players served under 50% in the final set and still dropped just 11 points in service games.

Coric produced five comfortable holds and kept the pressure on the other side. The Croatian forced Nadal’s forehand error at 3: 2 to two break chances. Rafa played a loose forehand to get broken and go behind 4-2. Borna served for the game nine win, holding with a forehand crosscourt to seal the deal and celebrate a remarkable triumph.

“I had a bit of a relaxed approach in Cincinnati during my training sessions. I did my best against Borna Coric without pushing my serve too much; I fought to the end. I’m doing my best to prepare for the US Open and to play competitive tennis,” said Rafael Nadal.

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