Rafa Roundup: Nadal beaten by teenage girl – how did it happen?

Rafael Nadal of Spain serves to Borna Coric of Croatia during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Rafael Nadal of Spain serves to Borna Coric of Croatia during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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“I played a very high level in the first two sets,” Nadal told ESPN’s Darren Cahill on court after the win. “I get tired a little bit in the third set; in these conditions I [suffered], but in the fourth I served well and was able to play aggressive again.”

The match, despite the third-set stumble, was a welcome return for Nadal. All the elements of his “A” game were on display: his movement (making the quick, small steps he needed to step around his backhand and crush muscular, buggywhip forehands); a more offensive, flat serve (routinely hitting 120-mph or better); the cracked backhand struck from inside the baseline; and the deft touch and opportune net finishes.

But he looked firm and determined Monday. With some terrific net play and typically tenacious defending, Nadal breezed through the first two sets in a little over an hour. Coric showed his talent by winning the third set, but Nadal secured the key break in the fourth.

Nadal appeared far more relaxed on Arthur Ashe than he has seemed all season. Having a destructive base in the shape of his monstrous forehand, the world No.8 was assured in his shot-making and for the best part of four sets was able to dictate.

Forays into the net were well timed and they benefited the Spaniard, winning 16 out of 17 attempts.

One potential area of concern: Nadal won just 10 of 28 (36%) of his second serves. The really good news: He converted 72% of his first serves and won 88% of first serve points.

But the new timepiece, along with some improvements inspired by Formula One cars, also has a new price: A whopping $775,000.

When asked by CNBC if the price was a little crazy, Nadal responded, “Well, from my point of view, yes. But the real thing is, it’s an investment at the same time. All of these watches are limited editions and Richard Mille is a selective brand. In a couple of years the prices is going to be higher,” he said.

“I don’t think he knew who he was playing with,” she said the other day, her steeliness edging out modesty. She is the top-ranked girl in table tennis in the under-15 category in New York State and the sixth-ranked girl in the same category nationwide, according to the United States Table Tennis Association.

“I remember I smashed one,” she said. “He looked really surprised. I mean, he’s not bad, you know.” Later, in a conversation about other well-known people she has faced, she upgraded that assessment, saying he was “somewhat good.”

PHOTOS:

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Borna Coric of Croatia during their Men's Singles First Round match on Day One of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Aug. 30, 2015 - Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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6 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Nadal beaten by teenage girl – how did it happen?

  1. Hepburn3

    It was wonderful and treat to see Rafa play and win! He looked in fine tennis form! I was so happy for this win for him! Now onto round two! VAMOS RAFA!!!

    Like

  2. Elizabeth Howard

    It was worth getting only 3 hours sleep to see Rafael play with such confidence, great movement, judgement and top class shots in the first two sets. I thought he was on his way and that I would get more sleep but a little blip saw it going to 4. It was such a humid night but he got back on track to progress to the next round. A happy me but somewhat bleary eyed at work! Let us take one match at a time and support our champion.

    Liked by 1 person

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