Rafael Nadal eliminated by Borna Coric as soon as he entered the competition in Cincinnati

For his first official match since withdrawing on the eve of the Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios in early July, due to an abdominal tear, Rafael Nadal lost to Borna Coric (7-6 [9]4-6, 6-3), on Wednesday night through Thursday in the second round of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati.

“Everything is not going to be perfect right away.warned the Spaniard on Sunday. You can’t expect to play at an exceptional level right from the start. Once you know that, once you’ve accepted it, you have to be humble enough to hang on with your tools of the moment. » Those of the world number 3 were not enough against the Croatian ghost.

Nadal lacking rhythm

Arrived at the center with only a few days of high-intensity training in his legs and little certainty about his ability to serve 100% over the duration of a match, he who had been extra careful in recent days to protect his belt abdominal, Nadal rather reassured on his start to the match. Solid on his commitments (only one break point conceded in the first set), he however showed significant shortcomings on the return, too often lacking precision to hinder Coric (no break point conceded in the round for the Croatian).

Lacking rhythm, he who had only played two training sets in a month and a half, the Mallorcan was also clumsy at times, particularly in the decisive game of the first set during which he made a big mistake on a high lifted volley when he had obtained a set point, as well as his first two double faults of the match, the second offering the round to the 152nd in the world.

The Spaniard still has ten days to prepare for the US Open

A little more incisive on the recovery games in the second set, Nadal took advantage of two forehand faults from Coric to score the first break of the game at 3-3. Returning to height without shaking, he seemed to physically get stuck in the middle of the third set. His first serve percentage suddenly dropped (59% in the first, 58% in the second and 42% in the third set) and Coric rushed into the breach to break at 3-2.

“Rafa” surrendered a few minutes later. It is the third time that Coric has dominated the Spaniard in five encounters. The 25-year-old Croatian, 12th in the world in 2018, is thus one of the rare players to have a positive record against the man with 22 Grand Slam coronations.

Friday in the third round, he will challenge another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal, he still has ten days to get closer to his best level before the US Open which he will therefore approach with only one match on hard in the legs.


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