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US Open: Nadal overcomes early scare and gritty Hijikata to reach second round

Rafael Nadal won against Rinky Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday night. He’ll next face Italian Fabio Fognini, who beat him in New York seven years ago

Rafael Nadal, US Open 2022 Rafael Nadal, US Open 2022 | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Spain’s Rafael Nadal, the No 2 seed, overcame the loss of the first set and a gritty opponent in Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata to advance to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday evening.

Nadal, who was playing in New York for the first time in three years, needed three hours and nine minutes to put an end to the challenge of the 198th-ranked Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

“I started not that bad the first couple of games, but then I had some opportunities and I was not able to make it”, Nadal told after the match. “Then he had the break. Then I was a little bit nervous for my first match here in New York after three years. A night session, it’s always exciting. I went through this tough moment…”

“But then I think I play better. It was not perfect. But I’m happy. It’s my second match in fifty days more or less (53, editor’s note). In some way was not the day to play perfect. Is a day to just make the job done, and that’s what I did.”

Nadal looking for avenge 2015 US Open loss to Fognini next

The win sets up an intriguing clash against former top 10 player Fabio Fognini, who defeated Aslan Karatsev in five sets.

The two have met 17 times with Nadal leading their head-to-head 13-4, with one of Fognini’s wins coming at the US Open in 2015.

Fognini won their third round clash seven years ago in five sets, one of the Italian’s three wins over Nadal that year and his only hardcourt win over the Spaniard.

US Open (Grand Slam), other first-round results

  • Denis Shapovalov (19) beat Marc-Andrea Huesler: 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
  • Frances Tiafoe (22) beat Marcos Giron: 7-6, 6-4, 6-3
  • Alexei Popyrin beat Chun-Hsin Tseng: 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3)
  • Fabio Fognini beat Aslan Karatsev: 1-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4
  • Hubert Hurkacz (8) beat Oscar Otte: 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
  • Ilya Ivashka beat Sam Querrey (WC): 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8), 6-3
  • Gijs Brouwer (Q) beat Adrian Mannarino: 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
  • Jenson Brooksby beat Dusan Lajovic: 6-2, 6-0, 3-0 ret.
  • Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Norbert Gombos (Q): 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
  • Lorenzo Musetti (26) beat David Goffin: 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9)
  • Jannik Sinner (11) beat Daniel Altmaier: 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
  • Borna Coric (25) beat Enzo Couacaud (Q): 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 4-6, 7-5
  • Marin Čilić (15) beat Maximilian Marterer (Q): 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
  • Christopher Eubanks (Q) beat Pedro Martinez: 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3)
  • Federico Coria beat Tallon Griekspoor: 7-5, 6-4, 6-3
  • Miomir Kecmanovic (32) beat Learner Tien (WC): 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
  • Andrey Rublev (9) beat Laslo Djere: 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4
  • Holger Rune (28) beat Peter Gojowczyk: 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (5)
  • SoonWoo Kwon beat Fernando Verdasco (LL): 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3
  • Daniel Evans (20) beat Jiri Vesely: 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
  • James Duckworth beat Christopher O’Connell: 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3
  • John Isner beat Federico Delbonis (Q): 6-3, 6-1, 7-5
  • Carlos Alcaraz (3) beat Sebastian Baez: 7-5, 7-5, 2-0 ret.
  • Grigor Dimitrov (17) beat Steve Johnson: 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
  • Richard Gasquet beat Taro Daniel: 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-2
  • João Sousa beat Mackenzie McDonald: 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3
  • Cameron Norrie (7) beat Benoit Paire: 6-0, 7-6 (1), 6-0
  • Brandon Nakashima beat Pavel Kotov (Q): 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2
  • Nick Kyrgios (23) beat Thanasi Kokkinakis: 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
  • Benjamin Bonzi beat Ugo Humbert (WC): 7-6 (1), 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2
  • Daniel Elahi Galan (Q) beat Stefanos Tsitsipas (4): 6-0, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
  • Pedro Cachin beat Aljaz Bedene: 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 7-6 (6)
  • Brandon Holt (Q) beat Taylor Fritz (10): 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4
  • Jack Draper beat Emil Ruusuvuori: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
  • Jordan Thompson beat Lorenzo Sonego: 2-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
  • Alexander Bublik beat Hugo Gaston: 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
  • Botic van de Zandschulp (21) beat Tomas Machac (Q): 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
  • Thiago Monteiro beat Alex Molcan: 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
  • Cristian Garin beat Jiri Lehecka: 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-1
  • Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) beat Alexander Ritschard (Q): 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
  • Alex De Minaur (18) beat Filip Krajinovic: 7-5, 6-2, 6-3
  • Pablo Carreno Busta (12) beat Dominic Thiem (WC): 7-5, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
  • Karen Khachanov (27) beat Denis Kudla: 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
  • Corentin Moutet (LL) beat Stan Wawrinka: 6-4, 7-6 (7) ret.
  • Nuno Borges (Q) beat Ben Shelton (WC): 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 6-3
  • Yibing Wu (Q) beat Nikoloz Basilashvili (31): 6-3, 6-4, 6-0
  • Hugo Grenier (LL) beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry: 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
  • Casper Ruud (5) beat Kyle Edmund: 6-3, 7-5, 6-2
  • Matteo Berrettini (13) beat Nicolas Jarry (Q): 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
  • Marton Fucsovics beat Maxime Cressy (30): 6-7 (4), 7-5, 5-1 ret.
  • Daniil Medvedev (1) beat Stefan Kozlov: 6-2, 6-4, 6-0
  • Andy Murray beat Francisco Cerundolo (24): 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
  • Tim van Rijthoven beat Zhizhen Zhang (Q): 3-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (9), 6-1, 6-4
  • Sebastian Korda beat Facundo Bagnis (Q): 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-1
  • Tommy Paul (29) beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles: 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 7-5
  • Emilio Nava (WC) beat John Millman: 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-1
  • Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat Yoshihito Nishioka: 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
  • J.J. Wolf (WC) beat Roberto Bautista Agut (16): 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
  • Alejandro Tabilo beat Kamil Majchrzak: 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1
  • Arthur Rinderknech beat Quentin Halys: 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-2
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