Rafael Nadal’s first match ever in Washington went the distance Wednesday night as Jack Sock took him to a final set breaker before the 20-time Slam champion pulled away with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) in just over three hours.
“A beautiful night in terms of energy, in term of the crowd have been amazing,” Nadal said after. “The support of the city since I arrived here is one of the most that I ever had in my career.
“Super happy to visit Washington and to play here for the first time.”
Sock, a former Top 10, played some of his best tennis, troubling Nadal with his forehand and dropshot and also getting on top of Nadal’s serve. Nadal, at times, appeared slow and hobbled with a foot issue and once ahead, was now down a break in the third before a full crowd in D.C.
But the Spaniard got it all flowing with some perfect tennis to start the tiebreaker 5-0 and then never look back.
“The match wasn’t easy,” Nadal said. “I think I started more or less well the first set. Then I played a bad game in the second. It’s true that when the match was coming, my foot was coming, too. I started to suffer a little bit too much.”
Nadal expanded on the foot with led to him missing Wimbledon and the Olympics.
“My fitness is fine,” Nadal said. “I need to have a little bit of less pain in the foot, honestly. That’s the true. But physically I feel more or less okay.”
Nadal won’t have much time to regroup with his second match tomorrow against Lloyd Harris.
“I have been resting enough. Maybe is not about resting. But is the moment to just keep going,” he said of his foot.
Jannik Sinner, Kei Nishikori, Reilly Opelka and the streaking Brandon Nakashima also advanced.
Tomorrow the third round will be played with two great young battles – Sinner meeting Sebastian Korda and Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on American 20-year-old Jensen Brooksby.
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