Nadal is afraid, but he beats Hijikata in the first round of the US Open

Nadal is afraid, but he beats Hijikata in the first round of the US Open

Rafael Nadal panicked this Tuesday when he lost the first set to Rinke Hijikata, No. 198 in the ATP rankings, in the opening round of the US Open, in New York (USA). But victory was only a matter of time. The four-time champion, who is third, has been reunited, and has had the switch from 3 sets to 1 (4/6, 6/2, 6/3 and 6/3). And the price of the Australian opponent’s victory, “sell dearly” the result to the end and present an eventful showdown.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory at the US Open – Photo: Sarah Steer/Getty Images

Four-time US Open champion and oldest Grand Slam holder – he added 22 in his career – Nadal is striving for the top of the rankings. And in his next step in the competition, he will face Fabio Fognini, No. 60.

The technical contradiction between third seed Rafael Nadal and 198th seed Rinke Hijikata appeared in the first match. The Spaniard served four times to win the first half from scratch. It seemed like it would be easy. It just looked. The 21-year-old Australian was going to give a job, and he confirmed his service in the sequence, using air balls.

Rafael Nadal and Hijikata confirmed their services until the match was tied 3-3, when the Australian, the sniper in a duel against the favorite, broke Mira’s serve. In an attempt to shoot the ball, Hijikata fully extended his arm, grabbed the air ball and nailed the point: 4 to 3. Confident, the youngster made it 5 to 3 in the sequence.

Rafael Nadal seeks a fifth US Open title – Photo: Sarah Steer/Getty Images

Nadal cut the advantage when he resumed service: 5 to 4. But Hijikata wasn’t willing to miss the chance to win a set against one of the greatest players in history. With three points, the Australian missed out on first place. However, with an amazing ace, he scored 6 to 4, opening 1 to 0 in the first set.

In the second set, Rafael Nadal showed his strength in reaction to open 3 for 0 – with the serve broken. Miúra retained the advantage who confirmed all his services this time. After scoring 5-2, he crushed Hijikata’s serve again, scored 6-2 and tied the match 1-1, and there were seven win points for the Spaniard against an opponent.

Rinke Hijikata won a set against Rafael Nadal – Photo: Diego Soto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

In search of a return, Rafael Nadal imposed himself on the court. Four-time US Open champion put Hijikata into a race by speeding up balls. Once again, the Spaniard confirmed his services, broke the opponent and scored 6-3, turning the match.

Even at the back on the scoreboard, Hijikata managed to put in a tough combo for Rafael Nadal, especially for someone who has so far been at the bottom of the standings. The Spaniard won the first half in the fifth. With a 4 to 3 on the scoreboard, ‘Miúra’ was pressed in the eighth inning, when Hijkata opened 40 for 0, but recovered and confirmed serving with an untenable ball into the back of the field. Sweating from his shirt, he literally, striving for victory, celebrated with leaps and shouts of relief.

Despite near the end of the match, Hijikata struggled to prolong it. The Australian “sold” every point, raising the match to 40-40, but faltered when he committed a double fault, which gave the Spaniard the advantage. Miúra missed a match point by shooting a ball into the net. Once again, Hijikata landed a great shot and got a standing ovation. Nadal scored and they are back to 40-40. The Australian took the lead again, but was blocked by his opponent.

Rinki Hijikata – who distinguished himself with his aerial balls during the fencing – missed exactly this point for what could have been the penultimate point of the match. Nadal, however, re-sent in the net, and the Aussie survived. The Spaniard, for the fourth time, got the match point – again wasted by hitting the ball into the net. Only on the fifth point of the match was Rafael Nadal finally able to celebrate the victory by delivering a blow to Moazi in an untenable manner.

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