Cincinnati | Nadal returns only to lose first match

Rafa Nadal’s return to the Tour after a month’s lay-off to recover from an abdominal injury picked up in in the Wimbledon semi-final, proved too early as Borna Coric pulled off the upset of the day.

It's difficult to take a lot of positive things from this match. I need to practice. I need to return better. That's the truth Rafa Nadal

The Croatan, who has himself been suffering from various injuries over the past few yeasr and playing under a Protected Ranking, defeated the 36-year-old world No.3 and second seed, 7-6(9) 4-6 6-3 in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

“When you come back from injury, if you win the first match things get better,” Nadal reflected. “That was not the case today.”

With just over a week to go before the US Open starts in New York, the Spaniard has little time to get himself match fit to the levels which saw him collect three titles and put together a run of 20 consecutive wins before his injury.

“This tournament was difficult for me. He played better,” Nadal, who likes to find good things in his play even when he loses, said. “It’s difficult to take a lot of positive things from this match.

“I need to practice. I need to return better. That’s the truth.”

The evening match was itself disrupted for an hour and a quarter for passing rain during the first set which also disrupted the rhythm of the players who eventually were forced to play a tiebreak to settle it, and even that became a battle over 20 points played over 15-minutes.

Nadal failed to convert two set points of his own and had to save two set points before Coric claimed the opener on a double fault delivered by Nadal, after 75-minutes of play.

“I had chances in the tie breaker, and I played terrible on two easy set points,” Nadal said.

Nadal then took another 75-minutes to square the match thanks to a break in the seventh game of the second set and looked set to be back on track.

However, he was broken to go down 2-4 when he missed one of his trademark forehands which allowed Coric to take command and complete the upset in just under three hours.

“It was very very special,” a delighted said Coric, who had shoulder surgery last year. “I’ve been out the last two years injured. I didn’t play on the big stage.

“I was looking forward to playing this match. It was all kind of crazy I would say.”






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