Rafael Nadal’s start to the season left everyone speechless.
Rafael Nadal returns to Cincinnati on Wednesday for the first time in five years. Rafa faces Borna Coric in his first match at the Cincinnati Masters since 2017, when he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals. It was the seventh quarterfinal for the Spaniard in Ohio.
Even so, he did not remember too much about it after living a 6-2 and 7-5 loss in 80 minutes. Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos-Vinolas to set up the clash against Nick Kyrgios. The Australian was too strong for Rafa in the second game of the day for both players.
Kyrgios struggled with his left hip and couldn’t find proper form in the previous months. He retired in three straight games and never made it to the quarterfinals after Miami. Buoyed by a big stage and a great rival on the other side of the net, Nick kept his focus without the usual mistakes or tantrums, motivated to show his best tennis.
He overwhelmed Rafa in all segments, conceding 15 points in ten service games and fending off two of three break chances to maintain a high level throughout the match. The Australian was determined. He kept his backhand safe and committed 16 errors in the entire clash.
His groundstrokes were deep and powerful, forcing Nadal to stay off balance and fight to impose his shots. Unable to find a suitable answer in his games, the Spaniard suffered four breaks that propelled the Australian to the top.
Not trusting his strokes, Nadal made too many mistakes and fell miles from the baseline in his attempts to return Kyrgios’ serve bombs. Also, Rafa got a break right after stealing the opponent’s serve, something you don’t see often in his matches.
Kyrgios had 21 service winners to Nadal’s 13, going 16-12 in winners for a younger player. Nick had 11 unforced errors, nine fewer than Nadal, who had 13 forehands and seven backhands.
Rafa Nadal lost
Borna Coric’s triumph over Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati was his fifth tour-level match win since March.
“I can’t thank enough the organization for making things very easy [for me]. I try my best. They know and I’m sorry that I’m out in the first round, no, but that’s tennis, that’s the sport. The other opponent plays well, and he played better than me today,” he said.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match. Something that can happen. Coming back from, yeah, a tough period of time, something that easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better,” he added.