Rafael Nadal beats Andrey Kuznetsov to reach US Open fourth round

(AP) The ‘tweener lob Rafael Nadal somehow conjured up to get to match point was so spectacular, he was asked whether he’d ever before hit a shot quite like that.

“Well, actually, yes,” Rafa said, nodding and laughing. “Not many times, but I remember one.”

This one certainly was memorable, providing quite a flourish at the end of a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 47th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia on Friday night that put Rafa back in the U.S. Open’s fourth round for the first time since winning the 2013 title.

Rafa said the wrist, which helps generate all of that heavy topspin on his uppercut of a lefty forehand, still feels pain — but noted that it’s “something that is not limiting my game now. That’s the most important thing.”

He said his forehand is improving, and he’s particularly pleased to be more comfortable hitting that stroke down the line, which opens up space to allow him to hit it cross-court. Against Kuznetsov, Rafa produced 15 of his 22 winners with forehands.

But the shot everyone will talk about was not a forehand. Closing in on victory, Rafa raced toward the baseline to retrieve a lob hit by Kuznetsov. With his back to the net, Rafa lifted himself off the ground and flicked a lob of his own through his legs. His racket then slipped out of his hand, but he leaned over to grab it and eventually took that point.

Afterward, Rafa screamed, punched the air and spread his arms wide, pumping his fists.

“You cannot practice that kind of shot,” he said.

Not everything went so perfectly for Rafa on this evening in Arthur Ashe Stadium. His level dipped in the second set, when he double-faulted five times and was broken twice.

Still, he overcame that blip and came up with a strong close. Not only has he not lost a set through three rounds, but Nadal has dropped only 20 games so far. It’s the fewest games he’s lost en route to the fourth round at the U.S. Open.

Next comes a matchup Sunday against 24th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France.

“I need to be ready for the match,” Rafa said. “I need to be ready to play my best if I want to keep going.”

Source: Associated Press

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14 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal beats Andrey Kuznetsov to reach US Open fourth round

  1. Margo

    “Walkabout: a term that refers to the [Australian] Aborigines’ camp-to-camp movements.

    Yvonne Goolagong, a multi-grand-slam winner, would use “walkabout” to explain her loss of concentration, or her uneven results, when questioned by reporters. She used this as a pat answer for explanation-starved reporters, which invariably closed out the interview. Now who would have thunk?

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  2. Margo

    There is a YouTube video of Rafa having a fun time playing a video game with some youngsters after his Nike interview here in NY.

    Tomorrow, NY is expecting to be hit by hurricane Hermine. If she hits I hope it is after the day’s matches are finished. Thus far, the most precise information of her arrival is Sunday evening. If there are any significant changes to this I will post it.
    There is a chance that she will never arrive. Hopefully she will be like Godot!

    RAFA ROCKS NY

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  3. ashish

    Today Rafa played best set(1st set) of his in this tournament

    if he can play like this is a huge boost for rafa

    I dont know why recently his level are getting dipped after playing a very best set

    But good thing was he closed out well

    Because same thing happened when he played foggini in us open although playing good

    Rafa need to serve like did in 1st set and play long

    Vamos rafa

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    1. Teresa

      They were talking about this on ESPN saying he goes ‘walkabouts’ and needs to address it. At this stage of his career you wouldn’t expect concentration to be an issue just because he is having a relatively easy match. It is strange though because I’m used to Rafa starting slow particularly in the early days, he could lose an entire first set due to nerves. Now he is starting quickly and trailing off. But as you say he is coming back well to finish.

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  4. Elaine Crowder

    Rafa i didn’t see the match but from all accounts you did a great job.

    i am glad to hear you say your wrist is holding up healthily.

    All the best for your next match,

    Love and prayers,

    AlaineXXSydneyXXAustraliaXX

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  5. CanaDiana

    Rafael looked as though he was relishing every moment and loving it! So much
    pure joy in hitting a great shot, and regaining that winning form. Tennis in New York with Rafael firing incredible shots-stay healthy-keep fighting!💪👏👍🔥😁👊👍🏆👑❤️

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