Number two seed Rafael Nadal won his opening match of the US Open, coming from behind to defeat Japan’s Rinky Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in front of a full crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. This comes as the four-time US Open champion recovers from a torn abdominal muscle.
Nadal suffered the injury during Wimbledon, forcing him to withdraw from the competition before his semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios. Because he did not partake in the match, it does not go down as an official loss on his record.
“I went through this tough moment but then I think I played better, no?”, Nadal commented following his first-round victory. “Of course, was not perfect, but yeah, happy.”
Fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz proceeded to the second round as well, defeating Sebastian Baez 7-5, 7-5, 2-0 in a match that was cut short when Baez withdrew due to injury. Alcaraz will be looking to better his previous performance when he made it to the quarterfinals at the age of 18.
Nadal’s next match comes on Thursday when he faces Fabio Fognini in the second round.