Rafael Nadal returns to practice court after early US Open loss

Rafael Nadal returns to practice court after early defeat at US Open

Rafael Nadal didn’t stay away from the spot for too long after losing in the fourth round of the US Open. The 22-time Major champion is back on the practice ground at his home in Mallorca, working on his game and hoping to compete in the upcoming Laver Cup in ten days.

Rafa and his wife are expecting their first child but the Spaniard doesn’t want to stay away from the pitch for too long and is keen to return to competition at the end of the season. Nadal suffered a stomach injury at Wimbledon and only played one match before the US Open.

It wasn’t enough to build his form or remain competitive in the ATP throne hunt. Rafa led the live ATP rankings past him ahead of Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud, preventing him from becoming world No. 1. 1 at 36. The Spaniard failed to advance to his 17th consecutive Major quarterfinal after losing to Frances Tiafoe in four sets in the fourth round.

Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court at home in Mallorca.

Nadal started his 16th US Open with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over world No. 1. 198 Rinky Hijikata. The youngster delivered his only break in the opener for a surprise lead before the veteran shifted into higher gear and advanced with five returns to his tally.

Nadal struggled to find the rhythm behind the initial shot and didn’t play well in the opening 70 minutes against Fabio Fognini in the second round. The Italian opened a 6-2, 4-2 lead before the Spaniard took control, winning 16 of the last 19 games in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 triumph.

Rafa had no trouble against Richard Gasquet, beating the Frenchman for the 18th time in as many encounters after a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win. Nadal got his most dominant start at the US Open in the first two sets, claiming a late break in the third to emerge at the front and advance into the last 16.

Rafa was seeking his 17th consecutive Major quarterfinal, meeting Frances Tiafoe at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Tiafoe earned his first victory over Nadal in front of his fans. He delivered a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in three hours and 34 minutes for a place in the last eight.

Nadal lost the first set with a single break and played well in the second to win a return leg and level the points total. The American secured a break at 3-3 in the decider, holding with an ace in game ten to close it and get closer to the finish line.

Nadal remained competitive, earning a break in the fourth set to make it 2-1. Instead of building on that, Rafa suffered three straight breaks and handed his rival five straight games that propelled Tiafoe across the finish line.

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