Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open
For the first set, you were probably thinking about the fact that Nadal had a three-hour and 28-minute stretch in which he made four double faults.
The first was a double-fault on his serve by his opponent, Rohan Bopanna.
The second was a double fault on his own serve by Nadal.
What happened after that was a wild rally that saw Nadal break back.
And there was the third time he made a double fault — on his serve — leading to the set.
And the fourth: Nadal serving for the set.
Now, the first two breaks were to Nadal, and the third was to Bopanna, who was up 4-3 in the set, and the first break was against the world No. 1.
The fourth was to the top seed, and you can understand why. That was a double-fault on his own serve by the Spaniard.
And of course, there was also the fifth time he made a double fault on his serve.
“You can say in this situation that Rafa did an amazing job,” his coach, Ivan Ljubicic, said at the postmatch news conference in which Nadal said there was a “difference between what he showed in the first set and in the second set.”
Nadal, who had been playing with a back injury that he said was “not related to the hip, leg and muscle issue,” said he would have liked to go on to the final because it would have meant more points and better play.
“I’ve got to keep playing for the points, but I’ve got to win more than one set,” he said.
It was a decisive win on this final day at Flushing Meadows that ended the streak of top-seed Nadal playing on the U.S. Open’s finals day. He had previously played here 18 times, winning four titles.
But he never really showed much when the tournament’s conditions favored him.
Last night, he said it was his first time since 2001 that he had been on the final day of a Grand Slam tournament.
After serving for the first set, Nadal broke back on the second, then got to within a break of the third set tiebreak when he broke B