Rafael Nadal had to sweat more than necessary this Tuesday, in his debut at the US Open 2022. After starting his match against the Australian Rinky Hijikata (198th in the ATP ranking), he woke up in time before winning by 4 -6, 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3 after three hours and 12 minutes of play.
It is worth remembering that the Spaniard arrived in New York with only one match behind him, in Cincinnati, after his abdominal injury at Wimbledon, and that was clearly noticeable in the first set. The Australian, with a good percentage of first serves and some winning shots, took advantage of the situation to make the first differences.
By the second set, however, Nadal had already found a bit more than his usual pace, quickly breaking the Australian’s serve and then putting the match on par without too many complications.
Hijikata’s hopes of pulling off the biggest upset of the US Open thus far were dashed in the third set. Nadal, with his usual focus and voracity, broke in the fourth game and then closed it out on his serve.
The formula was quite similar in the fourth chapter, with the Spaniard breaking early and then sealing the duel with a spectacular down the line drive on his fifth match point. In the next round, the former world number one will face Italian Fabio Fognini, who beat Russian Aslan Karatsev in five sets on Tuesday.
Raducanu was fired in the first round
The last champion of the US Open, the English Emma Raducanu, was eliminated in the first round of the last major of the year after falling in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 against the French Alize Cornet.
Raducanu struggled with both her serve and her groundstrokes. In the first, she only won 40 percent (10 of 25) of her points on her serve, as well as making 18 unforced errors on seven game winners.
The Englishwoman asked for the doctor before the start of the second set due to blisters and hand problems, and despite the fact that she put up some fight in the match at the beginning, she ended up succumbing to the French Cornet after an hour and 40 minutes of play .