Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open
Rafael Nadal defeated Frenchman Rinky Hijikata to win his first Grand Slam singles title in an exciting second set 6-4, 7-5 in just over three hours.
Nadal will never forget what it feels like to play to his full potential and it’s a feeling he will continue to try and create for the rest of his life by working harder on every aspect of his game as he looks to cement his place as the best player he can be at the age of 32.
Hijikata, though, will likely be satisfied that in their first ever meeting, the Spaniard out of the No. 1 ranking has left himself at a real disadvantage.
Nadal’s opening set was filled with high quality play by both players but Hijikata’s serve was too good to be denied, and the Frenchman went on to beat Nadal in the second set (2-6 1-6 6-4 4-6 7-5).
But it was his first ever match against Nadal with the Swiss, following a back injury, playing in his first tournament following recovering from surgery on a back injury picked up back in June at Indian Wells. He came out on the back of a run of form that has also seen him win seven consecutive matches at the Australian Open. Nadal is only the second opponent he has played following the injury scare who hadn’t been able to contain his on-court demeanor.
It’s hard to believe that in just 45 minutes, Hijikata will have already seen Nadal grow and mature into the world’s best player.
It was just another performance that will add to an already stellar career, as the No. 39 seed was in imperious form, playing the part of a man who just beat Nadal’s nemesis with a victory in the French Open. Nadal will be in fine form, too.
He came back from an