Saturday, December 10, 2022

Nadal can’t be with Couric on his return

Spaniard Rafa Nadal lost 7-6 (9), 4-6 and 6-3 against Croatian Borna Coric in his first match at the Masters 1,000 in Cincinnati this Wednesday, withdrawing in his first match after a stomach injury. was forced to. Wimbledon.

At this year’s Australian Open, Roland Garros, Melbourne and Acapulco, champion Nadal had not played since July 6 and surrendered to Couric after a two-hour and 53-minute match.

Nadal didn’t lack commitment or the will to fight, but his stomach woes condition his game and prevent him from competing with perfect calm.

Mallorcan, the winner of the tournament in 2013, leveled the match with a brilliant response in the second set after wasting two set points in the first set, but lost to their opponent’s powerful and aggressive tennis in the third.

Because Couric, who disputes Cincinnati with a protected ranking, showed off the talent that propelled him to number 12 in the world in 2018, before a long series of injuries slowed his growth.

The Croatian, who had already defeated Nadal in the same tournament in 2016, now has a record of three wins and two losses against Nadal.

It was a physically and mentally demanding match, which was interrupted for an hour and a half by rain in Cincinnati when Nadal was leading 5-4 in the first set.

Until then, Nadal had played a fairly level game, solid on serve, and had scored two set points in the tiebreaker to take the advantage after the break.

However, he could not take advantage of them and made a double mistake which cost him the first quarter (9-11).

Rafa did not lose his temper and slowly managed to pave the way for a breakout opportunity that would come at 3-3 and he would convert to take a 4-3 lead. He did not give options to Couric and leveled the match at 6-4.

Inertia was again in their favor and they had 1-1 on the scoreboard with Couric 0-30 in what could have been an opportunity to complete the comeback.

He failed to take advantage of that opportunity and Couric managed to go up 3-2, the break launching him 4-2 and that opened the way to victory.

In a post-match press conference, Nadal himself admitted that he did not play “his best game” and that the tournament has been “historically difficult” for him.

When it came to putting his turn on serve, Couric did not tremble and punished the match 6–4, which sent him into the Round of 16, in which he would rival the Spanish Roberto Bautista.

The Castellon player reached this round after beating American Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-3 this Wednesday.

They know each other well, as this Thursday will be their eighth match, with Bautista, who won four for Couric’s three.

Following Nadal’s ouster, the Cincinnati tournament ended with Bautista and Carlos Alcarz in the men’s draw.

Alcaraz will face Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Thursday.

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