It was the first time the 36-year-old Spaniard had returned to play since his abdominal injury at Wimbledon. He pulled out there for the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios. Then the Australian lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.
In front of Coric, who was on his way back from a shoulder injury, it was clear that Nadal was only playing his first game of the hard court season. He was looking and noticed 23 unnecessary errors. After nearly 3 hours, Couric finished off the winner with a forehand.
“He was very special. The last two years I was off the court and didn’t play at the highest stage. I was looking forward to this match and I won it is crazy,” the former world number 12 said. Because of his injury, he dropped to 152.
This was only Nadal’s fourth loss this season. He has previously lost in Indian Wells, Madrid and Rome. Nadal still has a week and a half to prepare for the US Open, the last major tournament of the year. The tennis giant has admitted he can win his 23rd Grand Slam title in New York in mid-September, but he has to work hours for it.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best and that could happen. When you come back after a difficult correction it’s easy to accept. But I need to improve and train. I need to work on my comeback and I need training days,” Nadal said. To win the match today.
Eliminate Rod and Kyrgios
Fifth-placed Casper Rudd was also eliminated early. The Norwegian was surprised 6-3 and 6-3 by American Ben Shelton with number 229 in the world. 19-year-old Shelton will make his Masters debut this week.
Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is also performing well this hard court season, was not given a 6-3 6-2 chance by American 11th seed Taylor Fritz.
Halep back off
Simona Halep withdrew from the WTA major tournament in Cincinnati. The world’s No. 6 Roman is hampered by a top leg injury. She will face Russia’s Veronika Koidremetova in the second round.
Halep won the WTA Tour tournament in Toronto last weekend, thus ensuring her return to the world top 10. Starting next week, she will be one of the title winners at the US Open. The last major of the year’s Grand Slam starts on Monday, August 29th.
Halep was a three-time Finalist in Cincinnati. Four years ago I lost the last fight to now retired Kiki Bertens.
Polish Iga Swiatek ranked first in Cincinnati. The world No. 1 began her title hunt with a two-set victory over American Sloane Stephens: 6-4 7-5.
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